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Francisca Benitez

Extraordinary temporary buildings appear residual spaces in Williamsburg.

This video captures an extraordinary appearance of the temporary city that lives within the residual spaces in Williamsburg.

During and after annual festivities of Sukkot in October 2000, Chilean architect and film maker Francisca Benitez filmed the construction of a temporary dwelling structure - known as Sukkah - in the Jewish neighborhood of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, New York). Every fall, the nomadic settlement outside the house must be inhabited for seven days in order to commemorate the Exodus.

By showing the phases of the collective ritual of the construction, in "Sukkah" Francisca Benitez explores how the ancient jewish tradition survive and adapt in the fabric of the contemporary city. A new, ephemeral urban tissue overlaps the "permanent" city.

The short movie is part of a wider project that Francisca Benitez started when she moved to New York, in 1999, along with a photographic work of more than one thousand pics, taken between 1999 and 2010 on Hasid neighborhoods in Brooklyn and partly selected for the exhibition "Prótesis del Nuevo Exodo" (2010, San Paulo). In Benitez's works and research activities, the video is the most powerful mean to explore the effects of the ongoing changes of the city on its social fabric - rather than just focus on the architectural aspects or the spatial issues - , and also to deal with themes such as "trans-culturisation", migration and, in general, the adaptation to new urban environments, that generates new, informal cityscapes.


Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Music: Memo Dumay

USA 2001
Duration: 11'39''

Selected for the 2002 edition of the BEYOND MEDIA Festival organized by Image.