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Speculative Spolia

In this project, spoliation is defined as found materials with an ingrained place identity. This project tries to create a New Commons by putting forward the provocation to employ spoliation as an instrument of preservation and identity mediation. This is done by transforming the existing marble into a geometry that hovers between extraction and consumption, between a state of being finished and being made, and between being open and closed. In the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, there is a place where the homogenous material of marble already begins to create this feeling of immersion. Facades, organized street arcades, and a gothic-revival church are located at 89 Broadway. This site leads to my research of the story of marble. Where did this marble come from? Most marble in this area of Manhattan is Tuckahoe marble. Tuckahoe marble is synonymous with Sing Sing marble, a more specific site location on a larger geological formation. Here, the Sing Sing quarry was mined by prison labor from Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Like the backstage of a theater, the source of extraction for marble is hidden behind its clean, organized facade. To create a new form of collectivity from this marble becomes even more important not only to bring people into more spaces of empathy but also to propose new ways of material transformation that resist exploitation.
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