27-11-2012

New York Please can we play your bridge?

Brooklyn Bridge Love Affair

In September 2012 Di discovered that the 130th anniversary of the Brooklyn Bridge was imminent on 24th May 2013 and so she decided to spend the last of her savings on an air ticket to New York City.

“Since my residency at New York’s Eyebeam Centre for Art and Technology three years earlier, I had been obsessively sketching shadowy figures attached to bridges via colourful musical strings.  In my mind these figures were an extension of the bridge.  I named them movicians – people who compose bridge music  through their movement and interaction with the strings”  DI MAINSTONE

Di arrived in NYC clasping a pile of these sketches and a list of interesting people to meet.   She wanted to know how New Yorkers  felt about the idea of transforming the Brooklyn Bridge into a giant harp.  She also wanted to understand more of the social and cultural history of the structure and surrounding areas.

“The first people I reached out to were Karl Erikson and Julie Martin at Dumbo Art Centre.  They connected me to institutes and individuals that might be able to help and raise interest.”  DI MAINSTONE

Di visited the city of Trenton to meet architectural historian and author Clifford Zink, who has written extensively about John Augustus Roebling, the designer of the bridge back in 1883.  He took Di to visit the Roebling wireworks in Trenton where the steel suspension cables were manufactured.

“This visit to the wireworks was the most poetic moment of my journey, crystalising the metaphor of bridge and harp.  In my mind, the vast mechanism that twisted the steel wire for the suspension cables, was responsible for making the elegant strings of the Brooklyn Bridge harp…”  DI MAINSTONE

After exciting meetings with Kriss Roebling a descendent of the Roebling family, The Department of Transport, curator Amanda McDonald Crowley and the Creators Project, Di headed back to the UK.

“Through reaching out to new friends in New York City, I realised how much the symbol of a bridge resonates with people.  Bridges cross obstacles and connect people. The very process of pitching the Human-Harp project had created a bridge between London and the City of New York.  Connecting two cultural hubs.  Linking two digital hubs.  This metaphorical bridge is a two-way connection, with data being given and received on either side of the Atlantic, to enrich the concept and enhance the likelihood of the project coming into fruition…”  DI MAINSTONE