BETWEEN NEIGHBORHOODS (82 mins., 2017) is an experimental documentary that dialogically travels between present and past, art and scholarship, the world in Queens and Queens in New York City. Comprised of original and archival footage it transhistorically traverses temporal neighborhoods, between today and the 1960s, between the so-called ages of globalization and modernization. This video diptych contests Queens' location in imperial neighborhoods expressed by Unisphere, the gargantuan stainless-steel globe that was "theme center" of the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair (NYWF), the event's only planned permanent structure. Still standing in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Robert Moses's mammoth monument to globalization simultaneously marked the geodemographic center of his metropolitan empire and the ideological center of Washington's global empire, W.W. Rostow's Modernization Theory. Between Neighborhoods shows how this imperial ideology deified technology and privileged authoritarianism in the name of modernizing both outerboroughs and third worlds, Cold War cognates simultaneously expressed by Unisphere. It particularly juxtaposes the intersection of interborough and interamerican imperialisms that crossed roads around Unisphere at the last NYWF with the transnational neighborhood Queens and Latin America co-occupy today, in which peoples from around the world redefine from below the meaning of globalization, and, consequently, Unisphere, imposed by planners from above. Between Neighborhoods finally insists Queens is not a third-world outerborough awaiting development but NYC's cosmopolitan innerborough, as it insists too that art and scholarship productively co-occupy the same transdisciplinary neighborhood, public humanities.
Between Neighborhoods has recently traveled between neighborhoods, near and far and near again; in March 2017 it won the Founders Choice Award for Documentary at the Queens World Film Festival, where it was also nominated for Best Director Documentary Feature. In June it screened at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival and this September at Harvard University the Latino immigrants rights organization Make the Road New York shows it in Bushwick, Brooklyn, before it screens at Harvard in an event cosponsored by the Warren Center for Studies in American History and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. In September 2017 it travels That recent journey began in May 2016, when The Center for the Humanities at the City University of New York's Graduate Center (CUNY) and the Queens College Art Center simultaneously exhibited Between Neighborhoods; the interborough installation reproduced the immersive diptych's crossborder themes. Undertaken at the invitation of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) for its fiftieth-anniversary meeting in NYC, LASA and CUNY's Center for the Humanities cosponsored an interdisciplinary symposium (see it here) about the work, which was also discussed at an opening panel sponsored by Queens College's Kupferberg Center for the Arts. In November 2016, Between Neighborhoods travel resumed, screening in Yale University before moving transatiantically for exhibitions in Cambridge University, the University of Northumbria, the University of Manchester, and University College London's Institute of the Americas.
Between Neighborhoods grew from experimentation with video form and content, with mixing temporalities about the history of Queens in the world in the same visual space, in a single-channel audiovisual essay; outerspace innerborough unisphere@50 exhibited in 2014 at Terraza 7 in Elmhurst, Queens, in the heart of its subject –– and then out west along Moses's BQE at the Greenpoint Film Festival, in Brooklyn. Seth discussed Between Neighborhoods with Review Fix not too long ago.
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