M 1-5. 2013
(Collaboration with Marginal Editions)
Letterpress on paper. Edition of 20.
11 x 11 in.
M1-5 refers to the Greenwich Village zoning district designated as a manufacturing zone and site of labor. A historic building built in 1919 was located on Bethune Street and housed Superior Printing Ink Co. until 2006. The brick factory featured 195-foot-tall smokestacks. Though much of Greenwich Village is landmarked, the site where Superior Printing Ink Co. stood was never designated as a historic structure by New York City, and as a result the property was purchased, privatized and developed by Related Companies realty group. The building was then demolished in 2006, after obtaining a variance from the New York City Board of Standards & Appeals. The tall smokestacks were dismantled, and a new project would take their place: a luxury residential tower named Superior Ink.
The development project included several design iterations, a change of architects, and was not met without contention. Charles Gwathmey of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates was originally contracted to design the building, however, his design featured a curving glass curtain-wall which was "entirely inappropriate for [the] neighborhood, and [would have] in fact alter[ed] the neighborhood character." Robert A.M. Stern, known for his practice of "contextual architecture" was hired as a means to "utilize masonry and recessed windows throughout the [building's] façade" in an attempt to reflect, and perhaps, preserve the "character" of the neighborhood. However, regardless of its construction technique and aesthetic, the project bears little similarity to the socio-economic history of Greenwich Village or its neighbors.
M1-5 is printed using the ink of Superior Printing Ink Co., which currently holds ISO 9000 certification. ISO 9000, a "quality management system" used by corporations to ensure compliance with industry standards and their symbolic value, has become a systematic signifier of the global market. Not unrelated, M1-5 spatially and diagrammatically considers the disproportionate relationships between private and public fields and concentrations of extreme wealth. M1-5 re-presents the floor-plan of a $17,000,000. Superior Ink apartment and considers both the cultural capital of a neighborhood and how its "character" is commodified often to the exclusion of those who established it as a site of desire. The work asks, whether a variance is simply a shift in program, a matter of utilizing masonry instead of glass, or a larger nonegalitarian and expulsive condition.
 See 1961 New York City Zoning Resolution
 Andrew Berman, (Executive Director Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation) Letter to Meenakshi Srinivasan, (Chair of New York City Board of Standards and Appeals) December 1, 2005