Bettina Zerza Architecture LLC

Bettina Zerza Architecture LLC

New York, NY


Word Grid

What's left of the first cities of Sumer in Mesopotatmia?  Desert mounds, some shards of pottery - but profoundly, the invention of writing.  The Epic of Gilgamesh, about the ancient king of Uruk, is among the most significant early texts.  Perhaps New York City's grid is also the repository of words: books, articles, poems, essays written by New Yorkers or about New York over the last two hundred years.  Graphically, the grid is represented here as passages from such works.  As with the Sumerian civilizations, these texts may be the most important remembrances of the city and of us thousands of years from now.Commissioners' Plan. Street plan. Street grid. Grid lines. Bylines. Bypass. Web passwords. Web logs. Email logs. Log feeds. Twitter feeds.  How does the structure of physical space shape our lives?  The architecture of an environment affects our moods.  It defines our day, how we commute to work, how we work to interact with each other.  Has the grid of our existence condidtioned us to think in discrete blocks of data, binary ones and zeros?  Our worldview reduced to the rectangular blocks of computer screens, bursts of codified text and images.  Or has our restless nature opposed the imposition of the grid?  Do we energetically seek to break free of its bounds in a riot of color and design, research and protest, commentary and creativity?

The Word Grid will be on display in the Museum of the City of New York as part of the exhibition The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011, which celebrates and examines the design, implementation, and evolution of the Manhattan grid, beginning with its debut in the Commissioner's plan of 1811.

The Word Grid was selected as one of four proposals that exemplify the grid's capacity to serve as a conceptual framework for theoretical art and architecture projects.  The Greatest Grid is a co-presentation of the Museum of the City of New York, The New York Public Library, an the Architectural League of New York, and is sponsored by the Office of the Manhattan Borough President.  The exhibition will be on display from December 6, 2011 through April 15, 2012.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: New York, NY, US


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