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Whereas Hoops

Collaboration with Noah Cohan
2020 - ongoing

“Whereas” begins a proclamation. The word used as such connotes consequence: “Because the following things are true, I proclaim that something should happen.” But it also has another, conflicting meaning: “while on the contrary.”

Whereas Hoops is built on just such a tension, one built into the basketball landscape of the city of St. Louis and its “crown jewel,” Forest Park.

“Whereas basketball has no presence in Forest Park, we celebrate the game’s long history in St. Louis.” In this sentence, whereas can fulfill both of its meanings: it is both true that basketball is formally absent from the park AND that this formal absence marks the park such that once you notice it, the game becomes more present for being so obviously denied.

Whereas Hoops examines that absent presence. It tells the story of basketball in St. Louis, Forest Park, and all the power lines (race, class, gender) that connect them, whatever any proclamations to the contrary may insist.

Artists’ book coming in April, 2022!

01︎︎︎No such sign exists in the park, but it might as well.
02︎︎︎Shooting hoops in Forest Park on our mobile basketball goal attached to a minivan. 
03︎︎︎”When it comes to basketball courts in St. Louis, not every park is fair game”, St. Louis Public Radio, April 18, 2017.
04︎︎︎”Basketball courts in Forest Park? Alderman says opposition sits along racial lines”, KSDK, May 19, 2017.
05︎︎︎Forest Park Forever
︎︎︎Basketball is incipient in the landscpae of Forest Park.
07︎︎︎”You’ll soon get to hoop in St. Louis’ two biggest parks”, St. Louis Pubilc Radio, November 28, 2021.
08︎︎︎To the best of our knowledge, June 5, 2021 marked the first time basketball had been played in Forest Park.