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The Lawnument Archives

2021 - 2022

The Lawnument Archives capture a slim cross-section of individual observations and myriad overlapping histories that characterize 25 lawns in New York City. A collection of 5/8” x 2-7/8” containers, the same containers that once held the 25 original lawnuments, the Archive is a collaborative, living artwork. It rejects the premise that archives are static, all-knowing records that recount an absolute history; it instead proposes a participatory archival process – one that includes many voices and changes over time. It documents the observations of the 25 lawnument caretakers, along with social histories, spatial legacies, and the evolving relationships that characterize these lawns.

Woven throughout the Lawnument Archive is an understanding that lawns are social bodies shaped with intention, sometimes shaped to exclude, sometimes to empower, and sometimes intent falls short and sometimes those decisions disrupt. Yet every lawn is distinct with its own layers of history. And as the Lawnument Archive reveals, our interpretations and entanglements with those histories undergo constant change.

A Lawnument is a pocket-sized parcels of grass lawn that originates from one of 25 distinct New York City parks across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Each lawnument is a living 1-5/8” sq. x 2-7/8” cross-section of ground. Like the sites they originate from, lawnuments are layered environments of growth, and therefore require care. To sustain lawnument growth, I asked 25 friends (or strangers) to become lawnument care providers.

The Lawnument Archives, one for each caretaker.