2002 tales of fortune | Queens Plaza

tales of fortune

a time capsule for the Queens Plaza Subway Station


 The time capsule is a form popular within the genre of public sculpture known as the monument.  Its placement is distinct within the vernacular of American culture.  It is used to draw attention to an event, as monuments do, it brackets the passing of time, it imbues the commonplace in hermetic ritual; all of which assist in inscribing meaning.  Through communal imagination of time to come, the time capsule has its sight specific to the future, to the time when the contents will once again see the light of day, and we will know more.  It provides a bridge between now and when, a locus from which we imagine the time to come, as distinctly tied to time passed.  It assures in its plan of continuity.  Until then, however, the capsule remains a keeper of secrets, a charged repository.

Spending time at the Queens Plaza Subway Station it becomes very clear that this place, like any other public venue of passage, is ruled by an unspoken but incredibly palatable anonymity.  People pass, they do not come to stay.  You cannot say it is a warm space, nor could you consider the station a beautiful space, it is rather straightforward banal and functional.

All of these thoughts conspire to form the basis of my proposed project for the station, provisionally titled, tales of fortune. tales of fortune is a two component project: a vessel-form, singular and oversized, sits perched, balanced on the girders that cross the space above the stairs.  As one passes underneath while descending the steps, the object seems in a form of underground suspension.  Inset into its surface (read from the floor above), a text discloses that this container is in fact a time capsule, container of objects, hermetically sealed for an undisclosed period of time.  The objects contained are referenced in a narrative that forms the second component of the project—running horizontally at eye level along the entire perimeter of the four walls are evenly sequenced cast text insets.  Each text, told in the first person subjective, reveals a story of an object now hermetically sealed within the capsule (I have arbitrarily chosen 100 as the number of objects, hence 100 brief stories).

The texts will be compelling individually, each quietly revelatory in it’s disclosure of the personal, as a body they will read as a horizontal continuum revealing the urban experience as a collective stream of the personal voice.   This continuity in form affirms that the history of a city is the compiled history of its inhabitants, the composite of the passing of small events tales of fortune draws people in to an experience of the personal narrative, into an experience of small things that linger in one’s mind, into the experience of time and meaning in relationship.

The text with accompanying objects will be collected through a public call, through solicitation through different forms of media. The solicitation could reads:

Do you have an object that tells an unusual story about life in New York?

Would you like to tell the tale?

Tales of Fortune: A Time Capsule for the Queens Plaza Subway Station

$200 (or more) will be paid for the object and stories that are chosen

Please send stories and photo of object to . . . etc