Shifting Impressions consists of three public walks in the Lower East Side, and an exhibition that highlights a collection of objects and tools developed from City Souvenirs, an ongoing collaborative project by artists Liene Bosquê and Nicole Seisler. Created in 2009, City Souvenirs focuses on a series of participatory walks through city neighborhoods, where public audiences are invited to make direct impressions of the built landscape with fresh blocks of clay. Embarking on a conceptual and physical exploration of site, Bosquê and Seisler collect these clay objects after participants have made their marks. One side of the clay records sharp architectural details, while the other retains the shape of the hand and its subtle lines and fingerprints. Blending their mutual site-specific practices, the artists utilize the contemplative action of walking as an artmaking tool that enables audiences to slow down and notice the small details that amount to our daily urban experience.
Through the lens of the Essex Street Market and its impending redevelopment in 2018, audiences will have a chance to join the artists on an expedition through the neighborhood, where they will investigate the multiple histories of the Lower East Side and create impressions of forgotten or overlooked spaces. The newly reshaped objects will accumulate in the gallery, located inside Essex Market, and create an abstract record that conflates both personal and collective memory of the market and its surrounding areas. In the gallery, audiences will be able to handle and study the clay objects, as well as create new marks through sand and graphite, reimagining the origin of each impression and contributing to the project’s shared narrative.
Shifting Impressions aims to bridge public space and the gallery space to inspire exchanges between audiences that examine the historically shifting identity of LES, existing points of contention and possibilities for the future.