November 7, 2011
by fosco lucarelli
This is how New York could have turn to, had America been conquered by Nazis in the 40′s.
A project by Melissa Gould (MeGo).
“NEU-YORK is a cautionary meditation, suggesting what the local geographical reality might have been like had victorious Nazis succeeded in bringing the Third Reich across the Atlantic Ocean in 1945. At the same time it is an exploration of psychological transport, place, displacement and memory. This re-imagining of the city plays with comparison and misrecognition, exploring the coexistence of past and present, fiction and reality.”
A four-color lithographic map, printed in an edition of 20, NEU-YORK is an obsessive exercise in cartography with a “horrifying counterfactual proposition” — I have recreated an accurate map of Manhattan, circa 1939 (with no post-War developments like Lincoln Center), by scanning in several vintage maps and then digitally manipulating them — first erasing all Jewish stars representing synagogues and then removing all the street and location names, replacing them (following my own invented system of naming) with street and location names taken from actual Berlin maps of the same period, ultimately imposing 1939 Berlin on 1939 Manhattan in an historical juxtaposition/overlay. I chose paper and ink colors that would replicate the tones of an old map.
NEU-YORK takes the concept of “unbuilt landscape” to an extreme, moving beyond the architecture of individual structures towards a fantastical psycho-geographical projection of environmental and urban planning. And, while a historic document — a diagrammatic street map — is the inspiration for the project it is also the end result: A pseudo-historical artifact presenting an imaginary landscape which remains two-dimensional yet offers a distinctly visceral psychological topography in its representation of an invented space.
In this ironic linking of the two cities I know most intimately I am proposing a city in which I would not, in fact, be allowed to exist. Yet NEU-YORK is paradoxically an homage to the German language — my father’s mother tongue which I also speak fluently — and the poetic aspects of the German culture, the very same culture that German and Austrian Jews rightfully identified as their own, and which might have been mine to embrace had the historical continuum not been broken.”
More details here.