Co-directed by Lynne Sachs and Susan Agliata with the support of the New York Public Library
Abecedarium:NYC is an interactive online exhibition that reflects on the history, geography, and culture – both above and below ground – of New York City through 26 unusual words. Using original video, animation, photography and sound, Abecedarium:NYC constructs visual relationships between these select words and specific locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.
Each word – whether it’s A for audile or Z for zenana – leads to a different short video and a location in the city that you may never have experienced before. In selenography (the study of the moon), amateur astronomers celebrate the wonders of the night sky at Staten Island’s Great Kills State Park. In open city (a metropolis without defense), the ruins of military installations throughout the five boroughs decay with time. Chatty teenagers in a Flushing, Queens cafe drink bubble tea in xenogenesis (the phenomenon of children markedly different from their parents). In diglot (a bilingual person), a Chinese accountant, Albanian baker, Palestinian falafel maker, Argentine film archivist and Cuban cigar maker speak candidly about their daily routines. In mofette (an opening in the earth from which carbon monoxide escapes) mysterious gases flow from gaps in the streets of Manhattan.
The experience of visiting Abecedarium:NYC is more than watching, listening and learning. Visitors to the project are invited to respond to existing content as well as to share their own experience of New York City by contributing original videos, soundscapes, photos or texts to the project Abecedarium:NYC Blog. As more users contribute, the project grows in size, scope and experience, and transforms into a destination for sharing and learning about every facet of the city.
See some of the Abecedarium:NYC word videos I’ve made at:
FOUDROYANT “Coney Island of the Mind”
NOSOGEOGRAPHY: Gowanus Canal on Earth Day
SELENOGRAPHY “Moon Watching in the Big Apple”
UMBEL “Umbels in Brooklyn”
YASHMAK “The Veil in New York City”