“You can draw any kind of picture you want on a clean slate and indulge your every whim in the wilderness in laying out a New Delhi, Canberra, or Brasilia, but when you operate in an overbuilt metropolis, you have to hack your way with a meat ax.”
- Robert Moses, city planner, head of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway project
Division Avenue is an experimental essay film about one of the most prominent yet often ignored landmarks and soundmarks of New York, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The history of the BQE is very controversial – built through densely inhabited neighborhoods with no care fore the people living there.
The piece presents the aural and visual experience of the constant presence of the expressway through ambient sound recordings coupled with varied personal and impersonal imagery of the road and people alongside it -at times haunting and hallucinatory, hypnotic and dreamlike.
Eerie sounds, melodic pieces and imitations of traffic sounds are sonic references to the City Symphonies. The visuals compete for the audience’s attention: Subtly abstracted imagery depicting the flow of traffic is coupled with psychogeographic sequences that take a first-person view into the architecture and “fabric” of the BQE. It explores the road’s impact on the body and the sensory experience of what it means to live, work, and play around the BQEs with the passing of time symbolized by the passing of cars, and ghostly imagery as a reference both to what was and what will be.