Brooklyn-based artist Leon Reid IV—he of "Tourist-in-Chief" and proposed public sculptures of a giant squirrel in a park and a giant spider in the Brooklyn Bridge's suspension cables—has teamed up with Brooklyn-based documentary producer Julia Marchesi (The City Dark) to create the "100 Story House," a five-and-a-half feet tall miniature brownstone that they plan to build, install in Cobble Hill Park and fill with books to be borrowed and exchanged by anyone and everyone. The pair just launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project. I asked Reid about the projects' origins, and its more practical concerns, like where the books will come from and what the Department of Parks—which Reid has had problems with in the past—thinks of it.
Where did the idea for "100 Story House" come from?
I was introduced to Julia Marchesi last year through Kate Clark a mutual friend; Julia had the idea to create a repository that would serve as a small lending library for her Cobble Hill community. The repository would provide a place for all those abandoned books that end up on the streets of Brooklyn. I contributed to the project by designing the repository to be a brownstone house as a way for it to fit into the surrounding environment and thereby be more approachable and interactive- especially for children.
Where will the first batch of books come from?
I think the first batch of books will come from donations from both myself and Julia and also from those who have already and will continue to approach us offering books. Later on I think the house will be self-replenishing especially once the word catches on.
Are you hoping to do it more than once, or in more than one park, if it's a success? Or is this a one-time thing?
We would love to see The Hundred Story House travel to different parks in Brooklyn and beyond. This of course will be determined by the response we see from the local residents.
How supportive or not has the Parks Department been?
We have have yet to approach the Parks Department. When we do, we believe that they will see the social benefits that this project offers and will be supportive. Additionally, my attorney Philip Z. Kimball has done a remarkable job in the past of negotiating my creative interests to the Parks Department.
Follow Benjamin Sutton on Twitter @LMagArt