Last week I installed the ASK ME: TELL ME postcard rack at Lucky Laundromat. There are 20 different postcards that were made by Jersey City residents including myself. When I first began my Laundromat Project residency I researched the history of Jersey City and hung out at the Laundromat making drawings and talking to JC residents about the history of the neighborhood. I turned some of those drawings into postcards. You can read earlier entries about the historical tidbits I learned about–the geological and geographic configuration of Jersey City from the 17th to the 20th century, the history of different owners of the Lucky Laundromat site, previous businesses at Lucky etc. The postcard series also includes drawings and photographs made by residents describing their view of how Jersey City has changed over the years and how gentrification is affecting their daily lives. Other postcards excerpt portions of interviews and conversations I had with local laundromat goers. Some of these are in English and some are in Spanish. I am working on editing a video of all the oral histories I recorded during my residency. When the video is complete I will host a special screening at the Laundromat for the community. In the meantime, stop by the Laundromat and check out the postcards.
The ProjectLucky Laundromat will consider the laundromat as a site of Jersey City history documenting the transitions it has undergone over the years; it will also act as an active space for new stories from residents about its current role within the community. Lucky Laundromat integrates the history of the Laundromat site with personal stories about current Jersey City residents. How long has the laundromat been there? What was on the site before? What was this land originally used for? What role does the laundromat play in the lives of the community who use it? Does it reflect the ethnic and economic diversity of the neighborhood today? The archive will include an entry for every permutation the site has been through including maps, maquettes and photographs/ drawings/writings of and about its history. This historical archive will create a context for neighborhood residents to think about the laundromat as a site of memory and a place for reflection. It will also act as an instrument to motivate/encourage/inspire the public to create an entry about the laundromat and their neighborhood.