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Casual Conversations in Brooklyn
Boardwalk, Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, NY
July 7, 2007
c print

CASUAL CONVERSATIONS IN BROOKLYN
2007-2009
Series of 34 photographs / c-prints

In the early morning on a sunny July weekend, we asked beachgoers (45 in total) to define their identity. Each participant could pose with any of three signs (with the words "Russian", "Jewish", and "American") or come up with their own self-definition by creating a unique sign. This event was photographed.

Casual Conversations in Brooklyn is an anthropological inquiry into Brooklyn's immigrant communities. Confronted by a radically different reality these new Americans are bound together by pursuing their American dreams and searching for new identities reflective of their new lives. How does one retain cultural roots while creating a new identity?

The project is based on a series of public dialogues, interactions, and conversations staged in the Brighton Beach community in Brooklyn. By bringing contemporary art out of the gallery and into the community, we create a kind of art/research laboratory in the public realm. Casual Conversations looks at the conflicting desires of this still nascent community.

Every staged conversation aims to provoke its participants to react and to reflect. Every event targets some issue - whether personal or communal - and attempts to elicit a reaction that will eventually become a brushstroke in this community portrait.

Casual Conversations in Brooklyn is part of From Selfie to Groupie: Russian, Jewish, American... project; view project description and images >>>