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On the Surface of Things

This site-specific project is part of an essay I wrote for the  The Material World of Modern Segregation: St. Louis in the Long Era of Ferguson, an interdisciplinary initiative that brought together eighteen scholars and practitioners to explore the material realities of racialized urban experience in St. Louis. The collection of essays is published as a special volume of The Common Reader: A Journal of the Essay (ISSUE 33, SPRING 2022). 

On the Surface of Things focuses on the traces of presence found at the basketball court in St. Louis Place Park. For the project, physical remnants were gathered from the basketball court at the park over the course of two years. As a poetic and defiant counteraction to the city’s long history of ignoring and erasing communities such as St. Louis Place, objects found at the court were gilded and thrown over the fence of the  construction site across the street where the new $1.7 billion National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency western headquarters will be located.

01︎︎︎One of the four hoops at the basketball court in St. Louis Place Park. 
02-03︎︎︎Two of the dozens of the material remnants collected from the court. 
04︎︎︎An overhead view of the St. Louis Place Park’s “basketball court in the round” reveals a shape similar to a no symbol or prohibition sign. 
05︎︎︎Google search results for “no symbol”.   
06-09︎︎︎Various gilded objects
10︎︎︎Throwing a gilded object over the fence of the Next NGA West construction site in 2018.