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Social Text 20.3 (2002) 39-41

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Sandrine Nicoletta


This work was created after I had observed New Yorkers for some months. Rarely do they leave the city; they live in a grid made up of straight roads, and their personal life is conditioned by their careers. This installation is made up of the word EXIT placed at sky level on the windows at the ninety-first floors of the World Trade Center towers, the business center in New York City. A video of the flight of an abstract and ethereal creature is placed on the ground near a map of New York State, with the word EXIT written at the city's exit routes. A small photograph on a wall with a script that reveals the relationship between clouds and other ways of escape advises us to take a bit of freedom from both our bodies and our minds. This work was installed to give a magical feeling at first impact.

The map on the floor reflects the strong light from the windows, like a lake; just as in a mirage, the word EXIT appears to you slowly from the columns as you keep observing the installation. As you go deeper into the installation, the clearly provocative aspect becomes evident.

I saw in New York a strong condition of the precarious, and this precariousness corresponds to a continuous movement. I find these concepts looking at the physicality of places (wall of millboard, skyscrapers fluttering in the wind) and of the bodies (there is an empty space under the feet and it is not clear of what is it made; you can really lose or find a house, or a job, in a day).

I wonder how all this influences people: the tight psychologies all linked in an indissoluble plot on the relations among verticality, horizontality, and depth.

Structural elements of the city become evident and we see that, in fact, only the men of the World Trade Center wear polished shoes.


Sandrine Nicoletta studied fine arts in Bologna, later studying abroad with the Erasmus program in France and the Ratti Foundation in Italy. Her work includes interventions in public arts and in private galleries in Italy, France, Korea, Croatia, and the United States. In Italy she is represented by the Neon Gallery and by the Maze Gallery. Her work is also exhibited as part of a permanent installation at the Orum Art Institute in Jeju, Korea. Recently, she held a residency at the World Trade Center in New York.


This work is from World Views, an exhibition of socially involved artists that took place on the ninety-first floor of the World Trade Center, Tower One. The June 2001 program was supported by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Many of the pieces in the exhibition were lost on September 11.



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pp. 39-41
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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Archived 2005
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