[Charles Simonds Building, March 27 1973]

Artist Charles Simonds constructs a miniature building on the streets of New York while a crowd of children gather around him and ask questions about his work.

00:04Copy video clip URL Artist Charles Simonds sits in concrete rubble, surrounded by kids. A TV monitor is placed above him. He is arranging miniature bricks into a model on the ground with tweezers. The kids ask repeatedly “Why do you think he’s doing that?”

03:14Copy video clip URL Kids mug for the camera in an empty lot as the videomakers test the camera and sound. They interview one of the kids: “I don’t know, but something’s going on over here!” A crowd starts to form. The kids keep sticking their faces into the camera as it returns to the artist.

06:49Copy video clip URL The interviewer explains to a bystander that Simonds goes around the neighborhood and builds miniature buildings for people to look at. He and the kids ask questions about Simond’s materials and methods. The sound cuts in and out.

09:00Copy video clip URL A bystander asks the videomakers why Simonds builds the miniature buildings. He advises him to ask Simonds, but the sound cuts out. The bystander seems to want the artist to spend his time cleaning the rubble-filled empty lots instead of building miniatures. When the camera pans to look at the neighboring lot the kids run out in front of it and begin posing and jumping up and down.

11:14Copy video clip URL A bystander talks with the videomakers about the buildings, observing that it looks more like a castle than like the buildings in the neighborhood. The videomaker lists some of Simonds’ previous sculpture locations: 6th St, 8th and D. This one is “about the sixth one that he’s made.” A bystander says the building reminds him of Puerto Rico.

13:47Copy video clip URL The interviewer speaks more with the kids gathered around. The sound cuts in and out. He asks one kid if he’s seen any of the other sculptures, which he says is hard to do because they don’t last very long. The kids talk to them about why Simonds does these sculptures if he doesn’t make money from them. 

15:25Copy video clip URL The videomakers point out the monitor to the kids. “I want to be on TV!” They talk with the kids about the videomaking equipment and process. The kids talk among themselves and with the videomakers about Simonds’ work.

19:12Copy video clip URL The interviewer starts asking the kids about Simonds’ sculpture. One kid explains how the patterns of the miniature bricks remind him of  building styles in Puerto Rico.

21:24Copy video clip URL Simonds speaks to the videomakers, seeming to indicate that he doesn’t want to talk while he’s working. A neighbor approaches and talks to the videomakers about Simonds’ project.

23:16Copy video clip URL The interviewer talks to the kids, who have questions about Simonds’ process. He then talks to them about their days.

24:57Copy video clip URL The kids talk to Simonds about his work: how long he’s been doing it, how he learned to do it, whether he has any in his house, whether he knows anyone else who does this. “I’ve been thinking about these little people, you know? I was making little places for these little people and then I figured they’d be better off moving around town.” The kids get increasingly curious and Simonds responds to them energetically.

 

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