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Gates memory project

Bob Stein writes to inform me of a fascinating experiment in creating a collective memory of an ephemeral event – albeit one which promises to be the most photographed art work ever. Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Gates project in Central Park was dismantled after a brief run of just sixteen days. “But during that time, millions of people experienced them, spending hours upon hours out of doors during the dark, frozen, improbable month of February. In the first four days alone, more than one million visitors passed underneath the billowing orange banners that wound like a ribbon through the park. Trips were planned, picnics were arranged, parties were thrown, days were unexpectedly re-routed. The Gates were as much an event, a happening, as they were a work of art”. Now that the Gates are gone, says Stein, we begin the process of remembering them. “But it is not just the objects themselves that we recall. It is what happened while they were here: the conversations, the crowds, the impromptu visits, the unexpected snow, the long ambling walks, and the various artifacts – photographs, sketches, films, swatches of fabric – that were amassed. Memories often begin with an image, and the Gates project is almost certainly among the most photographed works of art in history. So it is with images that the Gates Memory Project will begin”. It’s a project of Flickr and the Institute for the Future of the Book.

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