MoMA To Rebuild the Rockaways, Hopefully

by Whitney Kimball on February 26, 2013 Newswire

Rockaway from MoMA PS1 on Vimeo.

Holy shit! MoMA and PS1 are putting their mammoth development machine to the task of rebuilding the Rockaways.

The museum will treat the area as a “test spot,” according to one resident in their web video, where they will model the infrastructure that is necessary for the next generation of seaside towns. MoMA’s top curators Klaus Biesenbach, Hans Ulrich-Obrist, and Peter Eleey and its squad of architecture curators will select twenty-five proposals to be presented in the Rockaways this April. It’s moderately unsettling to see museum behemoths curating proposals for people’s towns, but, given how fucked things are in the Rockaways, who cares.

No word yet on who’s funding the reconstruction, but as we’re reminded in the video above: city and state resources are depleted. Underground water and waste streams are destroyed. Residents still await power and resources. There isn’t even any topsoil, so nothing can grow back until that’s fixed.

Anybody who’s been following Klaus Biesenbach’s twitter feed has been reminded of this since the disaster, regularly providing us with volunteer updates and photos of the area. He’s put his publicity talents toward fundraising with PS1 and the Standard, secured Volkswagen’s partnership in a temporary onsite geodesic relief dome, and enlisted celebrity friends like Madonna, Marina Abramovic, James Franco, and Lady Gaga. “But please,” he was quoted in a November Times profile, “avoid the words ‘star’ and ‘celebrity.’ That is not what this initiative is about; it’s about artists helping a community in need.” Yes, artists. If that gets the money up there, they can go by whatever name they want.

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