The Museum of the Moving Image will soon become the latest art institution to incorporate video into its architecture, an initiative very much in line with the museum's mission to advance the public's understanding and appreciation of moving image technologies across multiple platforms. Located in the Queens borough of New York City, the museum is embarking on a $65 million
expansion and renovation, which includes a new glass entrance with a grid of around 240 small video monitors. By entering, "you're literally walking through the image," said architect Thomas Leeser in a talk at a recent celebration of the upcoming expansion, which is scheduled for completion in late 2009. Adding to the permeable effect, the image is broken up by areas of glass between the monitors, which "breaks down the authority of the image and its controlling power," Leeser added.
His firm is known for its progressive use of new media, and the museum's facade is far from the only new video-friendly feature. Inside the lobby, there will be a 50-foot-long wall for projecting moving image, the architect said. An outdoor screening garden and a giant stairway doubling as a mini-amphitheater are just a couple of many other enticing new additions. "We wanted to move away from the idea that the museum's just about film," Leeser explained. "This is an opportunity to grow in new media." The museum will partially close after March 23 for the construction (though it will still offer screenings in various other locations); the new high-tech incarnation will open in late 2009. With so many institutions undergoing identity changes through their renovation projects, we await to see how the newly reformed Museum of the Moving Image will support moving image practice, as it intersects with architecture, digital technologies and the diverse community of Queens that surrounds it. -Lisa Delgado
Image: Leeser Architecture, Proposed Museum of the Moving Image Renovation