Francisca Benitez probes the visible and invisible boundaries that populate our urban space. In projects ranging from graphite rubbings of property line plaques found on the sidewalks of New York to photographs of over 1,000 Sukkahs – temporary huts constructed for the celebration of Sukkot – in Brooklyn, to the creation of a temporary sign language school, she explores the fluctuating delineations between public and private spaces. In each of her projects, Benitez identifies overlooked places whose uncertain borders she begins to tease apart, often through unconventional occupation and documentation. Using her own presence to push against and through these boundaries, Benitez reveals the frictions and meanings created by walls, be they social or architectural, linguistic or cultural.
For her High Line Performance, Benitez will engage park visitors in a series of three interrelated vignettes that weave through the park along paths choreographed in signs. The three chapters of her performance will unfold at three distinct locations in the park, reacting to each site individually. An extension of her previous work with both formal and informal sign languages, Benitez’s performance will bring together a new group of collaborators in a melding of sign languages and contact improvisation, including performers with a background in ASL jamming and deaf poetry circles.
Photos by Liz Ligon.