Ina Wudtke & Art Jones | A world's fair that is already there

Photo: Claudia Söhrens


A Contribution to 2024-2025 Shared Dialogue, Shared Space (SDSS) of the Korea Art Forum: A Series of Community-based Artistic Interventions in Public Space, Queens, Spring 2024

by Art Jones & Ina Wudtke

Concept of the project

On April 30, 1939 the New York World’s Fair opened in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens and was promoted as the “World of Tomorrow”. It hosted exhibits by 60 countries, the League of Nations, 33 states, several federal agencies and the City of New York. In 1964-1965 the park was again the location for the second New York World’s Fair and just like the first time futuristic buildings were created in the park to host exhibitions or attractions. The famous Unisphere globe from steel is one of the attractions that is still left from the second Fair. While the idea of a World Fair back in the days was to bring the world to where you live so that you do not have to go somewhere, today the situation in Queens is that the world is already there: people from all over the world live in the borough of Queens.

The artists Art Jones & Ina Wudtke flip the idea of a colonial world fair around by assembling and showing on this website a growing digital archive of interviews with cultural producers from all over the world who are currently living and working in Queens. This archive of portraits which constitute an oral documentation of the present, can also be accessed via scanning with a smart phone some of the ruins of the world fairs that can still be found in the park, as indicated on a map designed by the artists.

Program of the project

Ina Wudtke & Art Jones | sunday picnic

Sunday March 17, 2024 from 2-5 pm: Kicking off with a picnic for which the people of Queens are invited to share with others whom they would want to present and also see at a digital archive about their neighborhood. For the picnic the artists prepared several snacks and drinks to welcome the people and getting together into a conversation about their life in Queens. The artists were asking the people at the picnic if they would like to record an interview about their or their friends or neighbors or people that they think are very important for the neighborhood in a place of their choice in Queens.

Ina Wudtke & Art Jones | walk

Saturday April 13, 2024 from 2-4 pm: Art Jones & Ina Wudtke walked together with people from Queens through the park, while looking for important places and existing architecture that they will animate for the augmented reality walk so that people with a cell phone are able to access the digital archive of video portraits from people living in Queens. The artists also approached people in the park and asked them about their favorite places.

Ina Wudtke & Art Jones | Sound Hang out

Saturday April 27, 2024 from 2-4 pm: The artist played relaxed early evening DJ sets taking place outside in the park and announced from time to time that we are looking for people from Queens for a video portrait that we will take in a set up close by. We asked people what they know about the existing architecture in the park and record these oral histories on location.

Ina Wudtke & Art Jones | guided tour

Friday May 3, 2024 from 2-4 pm: Art Jones & Ina Wudtke invited people for a 45 minute walk with them to experience the NEW WORLD’S FAIR THAT IS ALREADY THERE and demonstrate the scanning of the architecture in the park with a cell phone. The map with the walk through the park indicating where you can scan the area in order to see the augmented reality with your smartphone was available for download, as it still is.

All four events were documented by photographer Shian Cui of Korea Art Forum and others. Since the events the artists have been working on a video installation showing the archive of portraits of people from Queens: A NEW WORLD’S FAIR THAT IS ALREADY THERE.

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