Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America

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The Frozen Neighborhoods

Olalekan Jeyifous. The Frozen Neighborhoods. 2020

Kiosk: metal, found objects, and digital media Photomontages: digital collages on Luster 260GSM
Drawings: archival matte
Models: wood, paper, and metal
Videos (color, sound; 5:00 min. each)
Project team: Matthew Vaz, Anaele Owunwanne, and Eureka Commissions, Onassis USA
Commissioned for the exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America

Olalekan Jeyifous: My name is Olalekan Jeyifous, I go by LEk for short.

For me, speculative fiction allows me the necessary flexibility that I need to examine contemporary issues but create new parameters for exploring them.

My project The Frozen Neighborhoods examines a speculative world. Climate change has exacerbated to the point where the government has granted the individual a certain amount of mobility credits but in this world, the rich have purchased much of the mobility credits and poor and marginalized communities are left without them and so cut off from the larger world. So these communities develop sustainable practices and new technologies. They've overtaken the MTA and trains, instead of shuttling you from one place to the other, are now virtual kiosks where you can go and engage in virtual travel, you can take educational lessons, job training—so really imagining this new self-contained world in Brooklyn.

I have an intersection that's completely flooded with water. And it's this freshwater marsh that has a floating barge that has some bodegas on it, people are playing in the water. Another rendering has a vertical row of storefront churches, but it's also a seed vault. And at the base of the building is a farmer's market.

Thinking of highly self-organized communities is a way of opening up the idea of public versus private, of power versus authority. The powers that be will always say you need to have an authority to monitor and to control people and the reality is, you don't need that when you provide the basic needs of a community.