peter d'Agostino
70s


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coming & going: Washington (METRO)
Installation: video/photo/text, 1979
[ video preview: 30 sec ]

Designed as a video installation for L’Enfant Plaza station, this work consists of
three channels of video on three projection screens overlooking the platform.
On the screen to the left is a modified travelogue of Capitol sites, including
the White House, the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial,
and TV excerpts from a Redskins football game.

The screen to the right shows passengers boarding and exiting trains
throughout the system from Airport to L’Enfant Plaza as viewed from
video monitors within the METRO’s surveillance system.

On the center screen is a continuously rolling text: a chronology of historical
events that led to the design of the Federal City by architect Pierre L’Enfant.
Conveyed through L’Enfant’s correspondence with President George Washington
and Thomas Jefferson between 1789 and 1792, it summarizes the architect’s
attempts to implement his master plan and the bureaucratic controversy
that led to his resignation and his historical obscurity. ( L’Enfant was not
officially recognized as the city’s original master planner until 1903.)

The soundtrack keys the visual images as they phase in and out
of synchronous relation. It is composed of sounds from a METRO ride,
music from the revolutionary period, a lecture concerning the politics of
operating the METRO system, and a tour guide’s brief comments
on the history of the District of Columbia.