The Matta-Clark Memorial Parks are named after Gordon Matta-Clark, who in the 1970s bought up un-used property-slices in New York as part of his “Fake Estates” project, re-framing these ‘odd lots’ as found public art. In this ongoing project, BARGE hopes to claim various off-limits public and private spaces as conceptual parks, in order to reframe and highlight how space gets cordoned and fenced off from the public, and how the ‘enviro-aesthetics’ of the urban landscape tends to reinforce such divides.
Several posters 'advertising' the location, photos, and attributes of the parks were first displayed at “Leave the Capital,” an exhibition at Root Division in May 2009 (download some examples below). The next stage of the project commenced with “Groundbreaking,” a six-hour event that took place in December 2009 as part of Southern Exposure's “Passive/Aggressive: Public Art and Interventions.” For this action BARGE commandeered a privately owned vacant lot in San Francisco's Mission District and proceeded to dig a 'wish garden,' in an attempt to symbolically liberate the buried potential for a new commons. In addition to collecting 'archeological' material from the site for impromptu sculptures and display, we invited local residents and passersby to contribute their wishes for the site, which were then collected and 'planted' in the ground at day's end. (More information and reflections can be found on the Buuck/BARGE blog post.)