I was invited by Mayor David Nyce, who is very supportive of the project, to present it before the Village Board at their September meeting, which happened to fall on my birthday, September 15.
After being invited to sit with the board members, I passed out copies of the proposal with drawings and showed a maquette of the proposed sculpture- a large circle on the ground that would be created in concrete, and an upright plexiglass structure atop which is a series of rotating eye-level discs… “When the viewer steps up and turns the center plexi-glass wheel, a pair of life-size eyes reveals itself. With eyes printed in negative, the viewer can see through the transparent pupils to the landscape beyond.” I explained that the “The viewer can rotate between 16 pairs of eyes representing 4 generations of 4 families that have lived in Greenport for at least one hundred years. The viewer is standing in the same spot that their predecessors once did, looking at the same timeless landscape – across the Peconic Bay to Shelter Island on the horizon, foregrounded by the Port of Greenport.”
I explained another feature of the project: “Four short documentary-style videos will incorporate interviews with the descendants of the four families whose eyes are depicted on the sculpture with their personal stories, old photographs, and recollections from the history of Greenport passed down through generations will being recounted.” These would be housed on the internet, potentially accessible via the town’s website, and could be accessed with a smartphone. I showed an excerpt of a video piece I did of Anthony Meras, owner of the Star Confectionary in Riverhead as part of a recent public project, “Eyes on Main Street” http://www.eyesonmainstreetriverhead.com/
I explained that I had been awarded a Creative Individuals Grant from NYSCA (New York State Council on the Arts) administered by the Huntington Arts Council in the amount of $2500. http://www.huntingtonarts.org/programs/grants-for-the-arts/nysca-decentralization-grant/ I asked the board for matching funds and permission to site the project, with a debut over Memorial Day Weekend 2015 through the Maritime Festival in September.
One of the members of the board looked at the proposal briefly and asked if I had accounted for enough sod to replant the section of grass and restore the site to its original condition once the project came down. I later mentioned that the concrete elements would be fabricated off-site, not poured into the ground, and these moved in sections smaller that could be carried by two people and only go into the ground 3 inches. It would not be difficult to fill once the piece was removed.
There were a few members from the local press who were very friendly and asked if they could contact me further about the project. Afterwards I was starving and went to the Front Street Station pub and toasted my birthday with a dj I met returning from a gig at Sunset Beach on Shelter Island, then headed home….