why islands?


as the empires of europe ventured west searching for new resources to exploit at the expense of the working-poor, sailors found utopias on remote islands. there were mutinies and rebellions in the name of anarchy, freedom, sex, and lives of tropical luxury as the oppressive hierarchical social orders of old europe dissolved instantaneously.

individuals and nations have succeeded and failed at realizing their utopias on islands. samuel comstock meticulously planned one and, having massacred his comrades, became the white god of the marshall islands - or would have, had he not died on it's shore. libertalia, the legendary pirate utopia off the coast of madagascar, was constructed by escaped slaves, anarchists, accidental socialists, and others seeking refuge and freedom, until it vanished.

manhattan is an island. so is long island. urban spaces all over the world are constructed on islands, real and artificial. when real estate is too expensive, too occupied or too controlled, we make new real estate. new real estate is a blank slate. islands are fresh starts and islands are prison colonies. venice. dubai. alcatraz. devil's island. napoleon's elba.

our atoll is not the trillion-dollar model of dubai. perhaps it's more like the islands built by the Uros in Peru and Bolivia. islands built by people with little resources. rather than their bundled reeds we are using the flotsam abundant in the urban landscape. foam insulation floats, so does scrap lumber.

we've reclaimed these materials from the ice rink situated next to the queens museum, slated to be gutted. built for the 1939 worlds' fair; the ice rink was part of a utopian vision of a bold american future imagined by the visionary & tyrannical robert moses. he destroyed to build this utopia: designed this park to be an oasis in the middle of a metropolis - an island for all of this city and the future.

 

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