An arts and education project, INVISIBLE CITIES looks at the digital divide between the “haves” and the “have nots.” In late fall 2005, The Builders Association began working with collaborators both in central Brooklyn through the Brooklyn College Community Partnership (January-July 2006) and through the Institute for Collaborative Education in Manhattan (August 2006-March 2007). Both of these institutions focus on serving primarily “at risk” teens.

Over the course of two years, the Builders worked with over 100 students, merging visions of the city’s complex present with possible futures for New York. The project evoked imaginary, virtual worlds, but also the marginalized sub-cities in which this project’s teenage participants live—working class communities inhabited by people of color, often living in public housing projects. We started by asking what is a “city” for its many different inhabitants? Are there parts of New York City which are only visible to some of its inhabitants, and why?

Through teaching video, editing and animation we created photo montages and video footage reflecting these states of visibility. The students also kept an extensive blog through the creation process.

The final project resulted in a multimedia exhibition with performance excerpts by the students on March 25-April 1, 2007 at the 3LD Art & Technology Center, a new gallery space in lower Manhattan.


Marianne Weems, Director

John Cleater, Project Director/Designer
Peter Norrman, Video Designer
Bertie Ferdman, Dramaturg
Mirit Tal, Media Design Associate and Blog Designer

Institute for Collaborative Education:
Student collaborators/designers: Kieran Bretz, Jonathan Candelaria, Shanice Edwards, Ian Irwin, Max Katz, Celina Leroy, Danae Lopez, Josh Resnick, and Atasia Richardson
Additional contributions by Lara Goetzl, Jeanine Rivera, Margarita Zhitivikora
Meryl Meisler, Artist/Educator and Liason
John Pettinato, Principal

The first phase of this project was developed with students from the Brooklyn College Community Partnership.