HUNTS POINT DISTRIBUTION MARKET A handheld shot of a loading bay with a jumble of discarded crates and broken fruit. EXT. STREET MARKET - LATE AFTERNOON DAN GRAHAM is scavenging for apples amongst the discarded produce at a street market. He picks through a pile of damaged and rotten apples and places what he finds in a used plastic bag he has brought with him. Close-up on the plastic bag as it gradually fills with apples. DAN GRAHAM (V.O.) One of the first things I did, Homes for America, an article with photographs, was also what Judd and Lewitt couldn’t do, weren’t doing, and hadn’t done. But it was parallel to their concerns. The subject of the article was suburban house structures just outside New York that I thought had some relation to the art and that was just emerging in many complex and different ways. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY – DAY A facsimile reproduction of Homes for America in a monograph on Dan Graham is photocopied. EXT. BUSHWICK/GRANDE MEMORIALS - LATE AFTERNOON Seen through the glass corner of GRANDE MEMORIALS storefront, DAN GRAHAM peers into the shop window. MAN ON THE STREET (O.S.) (Mark Thomson) When you published Homes for America in 1966, you were one of the first persons to focus on suburban spaces, on the invisible, discarded non-places. What did you have in mind at that time and what do you think of it now in hindsight?
2. DAN GRAHAM I grew up in New Jersey and I have always been interested in serial settlements. When I was at the John Daniels Gallery, I was one of the first to organize an exhibition of Sol LeWitt's works and I realized that Sol was remaking New York's orthogonal grid. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY – DAY A page of a book with a young Dan Graham at a gallery opening at the John Daniels Gallery. EXT. BUSHWICK/GRANDE MEMORIALS - LATE AFTERNOON A MEDIUM-SHOT OF DAN GRAHAM THROUGH THE WINDOW OF THE SHOP. DAN GRAHAM At that time he used to work for I.M. Pei and so he stressed the modern architect's notion of geometry in art. During that same period, I happened to read in Arts Magazine an article by Donald Judd about the urban structure of Kansas City, which was based on a plan of the 19th century. INT. BUSHWICK/GRAHAM’S STUDIO - EVENING DAN GRAHAM unfolds a large map of New York and New Jersey and pins it to the empty wall of the studio. He pushes a pin into the first location. DAN GRAHAM (V.O.) Then Judd moved to New Jersey and I realized that he too used the material of the suburban facades as well as procedures drawn from urban analysis. So I said why not photograph all of this, the suburbia, the real original material.
3. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY – DAY A second page of the reproduction of Homes for America in a monograph on Dan Graham is photocopied. EXT. BUSHWICK/GRANDE MEMORIALS - LATE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING A MEDIUM CLOSE-UP THROUGH THE WINDOW OF THE SHOP. DAN GRAHAM All of this was much more interesting than the white cube used in galleries and I realized that I could establish a relation between art and town and suburban planning. Here lies the secret of Minimalist art, the secret that is never told and that was suppressed by its very authors: the city grid. The light is fading, and the neon signs in the window flicker on. A MEDIUM-SHOT FROM BEHIND DAN GRAHAM AS THE SIGN MONUMENTS IN BRIGHT RED NEON LIGHTS UP OVER HIS HEAD. EXT. MIDTOWN - DAY A SHOT OF CLUSTERS OF MIDTOWN BUILDINGS, STACKED LIKE MASSIFIED MOUNTAIN RANGES. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY - DAY A page of a Smithson monograph photocopied, a picture of him and Nancy Holt surveying the site of Spiral Jetty to the left and the large title Interview with Robert Smithson (1973) to the right. INT. MIDTOWN ART STORAGE In the half-light ROBERT SMITHSON’s prone body can just be made out tucked in behind stacks of paintings and boxes. A layer of dust has settled on the body giving it the appearance of a stone figure. CLOSE-UP on ROBERT SMITHSON’s face. The sound of art handlers working in the background.
4. The commotion stirs ROBERT SMITHSON into consciousness, some stilted words emanate from his mouth. ROBERT SMITHSON What you are really confronted with in a non-site is the absence of the site. It is a contraction rather than an expansion of scale. One is confronted with a very ponderous, weighty absence. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY - DAY A monograph on the work of Robert Smithson is pressed down onto the glass of a photocopier. The light of the copier scans across the page. On one side of the page is a photo of Smithson posed at the back of his car loaded with rocks from a site in New Jersey. INT. MIDTOWN OFFICE BUILDING/BASEMENT STORAGE - DAY ROBERT SMITHSON What I did was to go out to the fringes, pick a point in the fringes and collect some raw material. The making of the piece really involves collecting. The container is the limit that exists within the room after I return from the outer fringe. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY – DAY Another page is pressed down onto the copier, a photo of the rocks arranged in metal crates in a gallery. INT. MIDTOWN OFFICE BUILDING/BASEMENT STORAGE - DAY ROBERT SMITHSON There is this dialectic between inner and outer, closed and open, center and peripheral. It just goes on constantly permuting itself into this endless doubling, so that you have the non-site functioning as a mirror and the site functioning as a reflection.
5. INT. MIDTOWN/IBM ATRIUM - DAY ROBERT SMITHSON is sitting at one of the tables in the atrium amongst the assortment of lunching office workers, tourists and the homeless. ROBERT SMITHSON As one becomes aware of discrete usages, the syntax of esthetic communications discloses the relevant features of both ‘building’ and ‘language’. Both are the raw materials of communication and are based on chance – not historical preconceptions. INT. DAN GRAHAM’S STUDIO - EVENING DAN GRAHAM empties the bag of apples into a bowl, and places a couple that would not fit on the table next to it. The apples could be to eat or to paint. A pair of broken reading glasses stuck together with tape sit on the table next to the bowl. He picks them up and fiddles with the tape. DAN GRAHAM (V.O.) Matta-Clark came to the position that work must function directly in the actual urban environment. ‘Nature’ was an escape, political and cultural contradictions were not to be denied. By making his removals public, similar to the chance spectacle of a demolition for casual pedestrians, the work could function as a kind of urban agitprop. He saw his ‘cuts’ as probes, opening up socially hidden information beneath the surface. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY – DAY A page of a monograph on Gordon Matta-Clark is placed onto the copier. Photographs show Gordon Matta-Clark working on ‘Splitting’. INT. DAN GRAHAM’S STUDIO - EVENING DAN GRAHAM puts more pins into the map at the sites of their work.
6. DAN GRAHAM (V.O.) All of us are ‘living in a city whose whole fabric is architectural...where property is so all-pervasive,’ wrote MattaClark. He wanted his work to expose this ‘containerization of the environment in the interests of capitalism.’ To achieve this, MattaClark proposed attacking the cycle of production and consumption that was at the expense of the remembered history of the city. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY – DAY A page of a Matta-Clark monograph is photocopied. Photographs of Gordon Matta-Clark making a piece from rubbish under the Manhattan Bridge. CLOSE-UP ON A PORTHOLE AT THE FRONT OF DAN GRAHAM’S STUDIO, THE WREATH OF CHRISTMAS BALLS GLINTS AND SHIMMERS IN THE SUNLIGHT. EXT. JERSEY CITY/UNDER THE PULASKI BRIDGE - DAY An old van covered in dirt and bird-shit so that it’s windows are completely blocked out sits abandoned under the Pulaski Skyway Bridge in an informal dumping ground for cars. INT. JERSEY CITY/TRUCK-CABIN - DAY Inside the darkened cabin, GORDON MATTA-CLARK’s prone body is laid-out, rigid and covered in a fine layer of dust like a stone figure. The movement of the truck as it is prepared to be towed away induces a faint trickle of dry speech. GORDON MATTA-CLARK I am experimenting with alternative uses of space that are most familiar. I like to think of these works as by-passing questions of imaginative design by suggesting ways of rethinking what is already there.
7. EXT. JERSEY CITY/TRUCK REAR DOORS - DAY GORDON MATTA-CLARK falls from the back of the truck as it is hoisted onto the pick-up to be towed away. EXT. JERSEY CITY/RIVERBANK - DAY GORDON MATTA-CLARK sits on a pile of broken concrete at the river’s edge. The wind blows the dust off his clothes to reveal a faded check shirt and worn jeans. His speech is staggered and hollow as if the words are playing out of an old gramophone. GORDON MATTA-CLARK While my preoccupations involve deep metamorphic incisions into space/place, I do not want to create a totally new supportive field of vision, of cognition. I want to reuse the old one, the existing framework of thought and sight. More than a call for preservation, this work reacts against a hygienic obsession in the name of redevelopment which sweeps away what little there is of an American past, to be cleansed by pavement and parking.
INT/EXT. JERSEY CITY/JOURNAL SQUARE/PATH TRAIN - DAY A shot out of the window of the Path Train as it travels from Journal Square to Penn Station, Newark. The shot lasts the length of the journey running parallel to the Pulaski Skyway Bridge. ROBERT SMITHSON (V.O.) The route to the site is very indeterminate. It’s important because it’s an abyss between the abstraction and the site; a kind of oblivion. You could go there on a highway, but a highway to the site is really an abstraction because you don’t really have contact with the earth. A trail is more of a physical thing. (MORE)
8. ROBERT SMITHSON (V.O.) (CONT'D) These are all variables, indeterminate elements which will attempt to determine the route from the museum to the mine. I/E. BELL LABS/SUBLEVEL PARKING LOT - DAY They go in search of the future. The artists are walking through a dark, empty sublevel parking lot. Some daylight from a distance illuminates their bodies. DAN GRAHAM guides the other two, who are liable to get distracted and wander off-course. EXT. BELL LABS/RAMP AND GLASS FACE SHOT OF THE EMPTY PARKING LOTS. They emerge up the ramp from the parking lot in front of the epic glass curtain wall of BELL LABS in Holmdel, NJ. ROBERT SMITHSON It seems that no matter how far out you go, you are always thrown back on your point of origin. You are confronted with an extending horizon; it can extend onward and onward, but then you suddenly find the horizon is closing in all around you, so that you have this kind of dilating effect. In contrast to its hypermodern facade, the site has an air of dilapidation and neglect. There is no one around, except for the sound of geese clacking and the wind. The parking lots are empty, the landscaping overgrown. DAN GRAHAM takes out a map to determine their location. This is surely a NJ monument of some-kind, but not the site of their work. DAN GRAHAM I have shifted my view as I see larger shifts in the art world. I never thought of the museum as an interior and basically artoriented, a salon, or in modernist terms, emblematic of the Establishment and to be struggled against. That loses sight of the relation of art to the city. The museum and the city are the same. (MORE)
9. DAN GRAHAM (CONT'D) My work has always been about the relation of the city and the suburb. DOWNWARDS SHOT OF THE THREE ARTISTS’ FEET, A DEAD BIRD AND OVERGROWN GRASS BURNT BY THE SUN. While DAN GRAHAM is looking at the map, the other two wander off. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY – DAY A page of an architectural journal from the 1960’s is photocopied. It contains images of Bell Labs in its heyday. Of happy scientists arriving at work. EXT. BELL LABS/ENTRANCE TO ATRIUM - DAY GORDON MATTA-CLARK walks up steps to one of the entrances into the building. GORDON MATTA-CLARK Work with abandoned buildings began with my concern for the life of the city of which a major side effect is the metabolization of old buildings. He looks through heavy glass doors into the empty atrium. CLOSE-UP OF GORDON MATTA-CLARK PULLING ON THE DOORS. Overgrown foliage presses up against the glass enclosure. The grand, futuristic lobby is glimpsed through reflections. GORDON MATTA-CLARK (CONT’D) Here as in many urban centers the availability of empty and neglected structures was a prime textural reminder of the ongoing fallacy of renewal through modernization. The omnipresence of emptiness, of abandoned housing and imminent demolition. The camera continues turning to the right as GORDON MATTACLARK walks back down the steps.
10. EXT. BELL LABS/EAST STEPS - DAY ROBERT SMITHSON walks across the East steps of the building and is drawn to the mirrored wall glinting in the sun. Medium-shot of foliage in the foreground with the reflection of ROBERT SMITHSON looking up at the facade. ROBERT SMITHSON What you are really confronted with in a non-site is the absence of the site. It is a contraction rather than an expansion of scale. As long as art is thought of as creation, it will be the same old story. Here we go again, creating objects, creating systems, building a better tomorrow. I posit that there is no tomorrow, nothing but a gap, a yawning gap. EXT. BELL LABS/CORNER OF BUILDING - MIDDAY DAN GRAHAM walks around the building in search of ROBERT SMITHSON and GORDON MATTA-CLARK. EXT. BELL LABS/EAST STEPS DAN GRAHAM walks into frame. He has found ROBERT SMITHSON and drags him away from the mirrored wall. The camera turns to the left as they walk away and out of frame. EXT. BELL LABS/TERRACE - DAY GORDON MATTA-CLARK walks along the terrace and comes to a stop by the camera looking intently at his reflection in the mirrored wall. GORDON MATTA-CLARK What I do to buildings is what some do with languages and others with groups of people: I organize them in order to explain and defend the need for change. (MORE)
11. GORDON MATTA-CLARK (CONT'D) However, unlike other artists, I feel the need to become directly involved in a context that is physically, politically and socially structured, in short, to leave the studio and go out on the streets. To leave the studio to relate to those buildings that have been abandoned by a system that doesn’t look after them, that imposes the use and fate of property only as an end in itself. DAN GRAHAM with ROBERT SMITHSON enter the frame next to GORDON MATTA-CLARK, behind the camera but reflected in the mirrored wall. There is apparently no way into this giant mirrored cube, ‘the world’s biggest microchip’, as it was once called. It is as if they have come up against a natural obstacle that they cannot pass. The sound of geese is joined by the sound of the glass panels and the metal frame of the building creaking in the wind. At DAN GRAHAM’s prompting the group turns and walks out of frame. EXT. BELL LABS/PARK BENCH From an overhead shot DAN GRAHAM sits down on the bench and the other two bump onto it next to him. DAN GRAHAM has taken out his map again to try and locate their position. ROBERT SMITHSON Exterior space gives way to the total vacuity of time. Time as a concrete aspect of mind mixed with things is attenuated into ever greater distances, that leave one fixed in a certain spot. An effacement of the country and city abolishes space, but establishes enormous mental distances. A security guard walks up to them. SECURITY GUARD What about limits in art?
12. ROBERT SMITHSON All legitimate art deals with limits. Fraudulent art feels that it has no limits. The trick is to locate those elusive limits, but somehow they never show themselves. That’s why I say measure and dimension seem to break down at a certain point. The SECURITY GUARD clears them off the bench. EXT. BELL LABS/REAR FACE/LAKE - DAY The group walk around the edge of the lake at the rear face of the building the SECURITY GUARD in pursuit. The garden around the lake is landscaped in a quasi-Japanese style. Overgrown red bushes, a lily pond and weeping willows sit against the backdrop of the impossibly long curtain wall. EXT. BELL LABS/JAPANESE GARDEN/BUSHES - DAY The SECURITY GUARD still in pursuit, the artists enter a thick hedge, he stops out of breath and at the edge of his jurisdiction, and turns back. Untended, the bushes have almost grown into trees. TRACKING SHOT OF THE CANOPY OF LEAVES OVERHEAD WITH THE SOUND OF THE ARTISTS WALKING THROUGH THE UNDERGROWTH BENEATH. EXT. UPPER MONTCLAIR/CLIFFTOP PATH - DAY The artists emerge from the bushes into a bright sun-drenched day on the cliffs at the UPPER MONTCLAIR QUARRY, now a small national park. Below them at the foot of the cliff is a manicured suburban lawn. From the cliffs a broad plain of tree specked suburbs spreads out to the Manhattan skyline in the distance. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY – DAY A page from a Smithson monograph of him collecting rocks on a hillside is photocopied. EXT. UPPER MONTCLAIR/CLIFFTOP They take seats on the rocks. - DAY
13. ROBERT SMITHSON Upper Montclair Quarry, also known as Osborne and Marsellis quarry or McDowell’s quarry, is situated on Edgecliff Road, Upper Montclair, and was worked from about 1890 to 1918. From the top of the quarry cliffs, one could see the New Jersey suburbs bordered by the New York skyline. The terrain is flat and loaded with ‘middle-income’ housing developments with names like Royal Garden Estates, Rolling Knolls Farm, Valley View Acres - on and on they go, forming tiny boxlike arrangements. A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG, stops to chat with them. ROBERT SMITHSON (CONT’D) Once you get out into these areas there is always no trespassing …taboo, totem, taboo…. Once again you can even conceive of this like a taboo territory, this is very primitive in a sense. If we get into primitive structural set-ups, non-site is… WOMAN WALKING HER DOG (Dennis Wheeler) Totemic. ROBERT SMITHSON Any book on anthropology discusses the bush and the town site, so that you have these two things, and they are conscious of both of them and this sets up a kind of fantasy situation where people are making all kinds of weird masks and things. WOMAN WALKING HER DOG (Dennis Wheeler) When you talk about scale you aren’t talking about a traditional sense of scale? ROBERT SMITHSON Not bigness, bigness isn’t scale.
14. WOMAN WALKING HER DOG (Dennis Wheeler) Scale is not measurable in this sense, then? Making reference to DAN GRAHAM’s cobbled-together map of New Jersey that Smithson is holding. CLOSE-UP ON THE MAP AS HE POINTS TO NEW YORK. ROBERT SMITHSON Yeah, that gets back to the surd situation. Although you are conscious of the scale, it’s how your consciousness focuses. This island might appear big, but in fact it’s very tiny, so that you have this telescoping back and forth from both ends of the telescope; you can conceive of it as a very large work, like one particle on the island might be conceived as being a gigantic tumulus…The particle on the island takes on an enormity. Whereas the island itself is just a dot. SHOT OF THE CLIFFS FROM BELOW, THE WOMAN WALKING HER DOG LEADS THE ARTISTS OUT OF THE PARK. EXT. UPPER MONTCLAIR/STEPS - DAY The WOMAN WALKING HER DOG shows them the way down a flight of steps. She waits at the top of the steps until they are out of sight. WIDE SHOT OF A DILAPIDATED TENNIS COURT IN THE CHANGING LIGHT. EXT. ENGLEWOOD - DAY The artists walk along a grassy verge beside industrial buildings. CLOSE-UP ON THE STREET SIGN FOR HUMPHREY STREET.
15. EXT. ENGLEWOOD/DISTRIBUTION FACILITY/PARKING LOT MEDIUM SHOT OF TREES REFLECTED IN THE HIGH WINDOWS AT THE BACK OF THE BUILDING. GORDON MATTA-CLARK walks into frame with the mirrored window behind him. GORDON MATTA-CLARK Splitting was done in 1973 at 322 Humphrey Street in Englewood, New Jersey. It was in a predominantly black neighborhood that was being demolished for an urban renewal project that was never completed. When I took over the house, it was strewn with personal debris left by its abruptly evicted tenants. The work began by cutting a one-inch slice through all the structural surfaces dividing the building in half. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY – DAY A photocopy of a monograph on Gordon Matta-Clark with images of the exterior of ‘Splitting’. A couple of skaters are doing tricks in the empty parking lot. One of them slips and cuts his leg. MEDIUM-SHOT OF MATTA-CLARK BENDING DOWN TO LOOK AT THE SKATER’S CUT. GORDON MATTA-CLARK Some of the first pieces that actually dealt with impingements on buildings as a structural fabric were very small extractions. At that point I was thinking about surface as something which is too easily accepted as a limit. And I was also becoming very interested in how breaking through the surface creates repercussions in terms of what else is imposed upon by a cut. That’s a very simple idea, and it comes out of some line drawings that I’d been doing.
16. SKATER (Liza Bear) A cut is a simple thing if you see it in graphic terms only. What struck me about the Humphrey Street piece was how much information the cut seemed to reveal. GORDON MATTA-CLARK Yes, a cut is very analytical. It’s the probe! The essential probe. The scaffold of sharp-eyed inspectors. Initially I also wanted to go beyond visual things. Of course, there are visual consequences to cutting, certainly to removal, but it was kind of the thin edge of what was being seen that interested me as much, if not more than, the views that were being created. SKATER (Liza Bear) What do you mean exactly? GORDON MATTA-CLARK Well, for example the layering, the strata, the different things being severed. Revealing how a uniform surface is established. The simplest way to create complexity was one of the formal concerns here, without having to make or build anything. The skaters point them in a direction. As RS, GMC and DG pass a building, the camera pans right to pick them up in its mirrored windows. EXT. BAYONNE/NEWARK BAY/CONDO - DAY MEDIUM SHOT OF THE EMPTY SPACE BETWEEN BUILDINGS IN A CONDO ON THE BAYONNE SHORE OF NEWARK BAY. EXT. BAYONNE, NJ/5TH ST. CONNECTION The camera turns to follow the three artists as they cross an embankment dividing a field of gas tanks from a street of houses in Bayonne.
17. EXT. BAYONNE/NEW ROW HOUSE - DAY Shot of an oversize newly built two-family house on the corner of a street. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY – DAY Photocopy of a page of a monograph on Dan Graham with a facsimile of Homes for America. EXT/INT. BAYONNE/NEW ROW HOUSE/GARAGE - DAY DAN GRAHAM ‘Although there is perhaps some aesthetic precedence in the row houses which are indigenous to many older cities along the east coast, housing developments as an architectural phenomenon seem peculiarly gratuitous. They exist apart from prior standards of ‘good’ architecture. They were not built to satisfy individual needs or tastes. The owner is completely tangential to the product’s completion. His home isn’t really possessable in the old sense; it wasn’t designed to ‘last for generations’.’ Inside the garage as a family pack their belongings to move. DAN GRAHAM approaches. HUSBAND (Ludger Gerdes) With your more recent works you have this kind of double meaning, like the more contemporary pavilions, you can see them, on one hand, as an object coming out of a highly modernist or minimalist morphology..
18. WIFE (Ludger Gerdes) ..and on the other hand, you can experience them as a tool of, let’s say, social interaction, between people hidden, people looking at other people, people being interrupted by boundaries coming together across boundaries and all these things. DAN GRAHAM I think they mimic these different conditions. They mimic these structures in the world, true, and they also maybe mimic the minimal object taken outdoors or become almost functional as an architectural lobby or pavilion. The ultimate meaning, a lot of the meaning, comes from the particular use context. The HUSBAND shows them a way out through a sliding porch door into a narrow garden. ROBERT SMITHSON and GORDON MATTA-CLARK who had been out of frame follow DAN GRAHAM through. EXT. BAYONNE/PATH - LATE AFTERNOON They walk down a dirt path that leads to a peninsula. The site of Robert Smithson’s work ‘Line of Wreckage, Bayonne’. Through the tall reeds that hedge the path, the wharf of a marina is visible. EXT. BAYONNE/PENINSULA - LATE AFTERNOON The artists rest in a clearing where the reeds give way to the shoreline. In the middle of the bay is a large permanently moored tanker that is being used as a chemical factory. A container ship moves slowly past through the channel. DAN GRAHAM signals with a white handkerchief he pulls from his jacket to a boat idling off shore. I/E. BOAT/NEWARK BAY-PASSAIC RIVER - LATE AFTERNOON A travelling shot from a boat going under the Bayonne Bridge and across Newark Bay past the loading cranes of Port Elizabeth.
19. MEDIUM SHOT OF A MOCK VENETIAN FOUNTAIN IN THE FORECOURT OF A WEDDING FACILITY ALONG THE PASSAIC RIVER. MEDIUM SHOT OF A TEAR IN THE FENCE ALONG A STEEP STRETCH OF THE RIVERBANK. EXT. PASSAIC RIVER/SQUATTER CAMP - DUSK At a bend in the river some SQUATTERS have set up camp and are building a fire. The artists join them. In the background there is the sound of the occasional car passing, geese in the woods and the water lapping at the shore. DAN GRAHAM There was an enormous flood of new commodities which seemed to destroy any possibility of artists’ own composition or creating new value, and seemed to devalue value. But this devaluation was the result of an economy of less work and more time for consumption and possibly meant that the receiver, the person who bought all these things, might be made creative and liberated in his use of time. Life might become an aestheticized form of play. The art receiver could be a creative participant in art; art’s task was to help make this aestheticized play available to everybody. SQUATTER So then it was these old-fashioned modern ideas that the artist would disappear? DAN GRAHAM In a certain way the artist disappeared. He just set in motion different structures. The artist as a hero disappeared, that was part of the idea of composition disappearing at the time. MEDIUM SHOT OF A RED SUNSHADE GLINTING BRIGHTLY IN THE SUN.
20. EXT. NEWARK/BROAD ST. DAWN
The artists walk up the road alongside a long stone wall, a remnant of the foundations of a 19th century factory. INT. PUBLIC LIBRARY - DAY Photocopies of articles on the Newark uprising. EXT. NEWARK/BROAD ST./DEMOLISHED FACTORY - DAWN The artists walk by the mounds of rubble of a demolished factory. A SHOT OF THEIR FEET IN THE DIRT OF THE CONSTRUCTION SITE. As DAN GRAHAM talks, the other two wander out of frame. DAN GRAHAM In both American and European cultures the immediate past is always chopped off because consumerism demands the ever-new detached from the just-past. I therefore came to the conclusion that the just-past is the issue. It is a question of keeping alive the richness which is actually in historical memory. A CLOSE-UP OF A FILE OF PHOTOCOPIES, INCLUDING THE IMAGES THAT WE’VE SEEN THROUGHOUT THE FILM, SLIPPING OUT OF SOMEONE’S HANDS AND SCATTERING ACROSS A WET NEW YORK STREET. EXT. JERSEY CITY/EASTSIDE - MORNING A SHOT OF A ROAD WITH A SECTION OF ELEVATED TURNPIKE ABOVE IT, SURROUNDED BY NEWLY BUILT HOUSES THAT OWE THE MOST TO PRISON ARCHITECTURE. EXT. JERSEY CITY/EASTSIDE - MORNING Sitting under a tree on a tiny triangle of grass, small birds peck at crumbs scattered around GORDON MATTA-CLARK’S feet.
21. GORDON MATTA-CLARK (O.S.) Now, what I want to do here is to join your group effort and achieve an artistic expression that represents a symbolic gesture of self-determination, as a flag or a poster that represents our intentions. What I propose is to transform one of these industrial constructions in a liberated way. To alter a structure that still exists as a bad memory until it is transformed into something that gives way to hope and fantasy. I’ll do this by resuming my early works, opening breaches in walls to give an idea of a free passage. A wide passage that is neither a door nor a monumental arch, but a sort of unlimited stage on which we are the actors. EXT. NEWARK/WASTELAND - MORNING In a derelict space behind some building, a group of young children are building a series of trenches and mounds in the sand and debris. ROBERT SMITHSON (O.S.) To reconstruct what the eyes see in words, in an ‘ideal language’ is a vain exploit. Why not reconstruct one’s inability to see? Let us give passing shape to the unconsolidated views that surround a work of art, and develop a type of ‘anti-vision’ or negative seeing. The river shored up clay, loess, and similar matter, that shored up the slope, that shored up the mirrors. The mind shored up thoughts and memories, that shored up points of view, that shored up the swaying glances of eyes.