Island of Empirical Data & Other Fabrications
Rose DeSiano’s Island of Empirical Data and Other Fabrications uses historical records, statistical data, photo archives and government documents – data points portraying a web of American values and struggles – to explore the complexity and reflexivity of culturally-constructed histories. Focusing on Randall’s Island Park as a microcosm of urban planning and transformation, DeSiano will photograph buildings, sites, and landmarks representing this data, mining the city’s archives to fill in gaps.
Welcoming Park visitors at the touchdowns of crossings from East Harlem and the South Bronx, each series will comprise a multi-paneled, oversized photographic predella, visualizing the Island’s historical and socioeconomic data. The predella structure will reference Northern Renaissance altarpieces, elaborately-painted panels using Biblical characters to display challenges facing kingdoms. DeSiano’s panels will loom over Park visitors, extending the periphery and enveloping them within the city’s history of challenges and triumphs; at the same time, their own images will be reflected and superimposed upon the scene, in turn updating the archival images within modern-day Randall’s Island Park.
FLOW is supported, in part, by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The Artist: Rose DeSiano
Rose DeSiano uses alternative photographic processes and digitally-manipulated photography as tools to examine cultural symbolism, the collective consciousness and the long, tangled history of the photograph as both a truth-teller and a myth-maker. Scouring cities, towns, and landscapes, she photographs illustrative moments that appear to typify cultural beliefs. Once back in her studio, she splinters, splices, and reorganizes these images into seemingly realistic compositions, each possessing distorted depth, scale, and perspective – all in a nod to history painting and early photography. The integration of commercial materials continues to question the truth of photographic history. Photos on fabrics and weaves reference folklore, while translucent plastics and glass make allusions to modernity. For the viewer, the materialities of her final displays are as influential as the images themselves. DeSiano’s works visually question our culture’s collective assumptions, expectations, beliefs, and attitudes. Rose is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, Photo & Imagining Department (BFA), and Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles (MFA).
Locations of the FLOW.17 pieces will be at the Base of 103rd Street Footbridge and the Randall’s Island Connector! See the map or download the PDF.