About the Artists

Stuyvesant Students and Alumn
"Despite the fact that the boxes have been present in the new Stuyvesant building since it was first constructed in 1992, they never cease to heighten appreciation for certain aspects of Stuy culture...each relic box has its own story and with each person, a different interpretation.
No matter how strange or arbitrary any box may seem, they all add a little something to Stuyvesant culture."
- Kate O'Dowd and Abby Schaffer, "Top Five Relic Boxes That Slipped Your Eye." Stuyvesant Spectator, May 24, 2006


"I like how everything in the building is part of our education--we had to look for one of the blocks [Copper Sulfate] for our chemistry class."
- Student, class of '09

"When alumni come back to the school after graduating, everything is completely different from when they were there. It's nice to have something here to remind them of their time here."
- Student, '08


Stuyvesant Faculty
"I enjoy looking at the boxes because not only are they a part of our culture, but they're also snapshots of past events."
- Assistant Principal Biology Elizabeth Fong, Quoted in Kate O'Dowd and Abby Schaffer, "Top Five Relic Boxes That Slipped Your Eye." Stuyvesant Spectator, May 24, 2006

"The building is the only thing all the students have in common in terms of physical environment, because they all come from different places. Having public art in the building helps create a shared sense of community."
- English teacher, Stuyvesant sHigh School

"[This tradition] gives a real sense of history, real sense of continuity. I think on some level it's very meaningful for [students] to know there was someone 10, 20, 40 years ago who's in the same position who did the same thing. History's a very powerful positive force. The more we can remind kids of this, the better it is for them."
- Harvey Blumm, Parent Coordinator


"The blocks create tangible memory in a digital age."
- Kristin Jones


Full Text Articles

Spectator History Blocks Article.pdf

The Stuyvesant Spectator
December 22nd, 2007 by Joanna Chen and Alexander Shin

The Stuyvesant Spectator
November 20th, 2007 · By Joanna Chen

The Stuyvesant Spectator
April 18th, 2008 ·By Alexander Shin


"It's good to have something to show my parents when they visit Stuy. I always take them around to see the blocks."
- Student, '09

"Filling [our] memory block [six years after graduation] has compelled our class to remember a more innocent, prelapsarian moment in our lives, while simultaneously demanding that we take stock of our present before looking to the future."
- Ling Wu Kong, '01


Jones and Ginzel
"You inhabit spaces your entire life. But how often do you ever leave a lasting mark?"
- Kristin Jones, interviewed in Tom Finkelpearl, Dialogues in Public Art (2000)


Public Recognition
"The title Mnemonics means a system to improve or develop memory. Both in its process and its permanent presence, the project asks the school to remember, but it is essentially different from traditional memorial artworks. First, the artists asked the users to define their own history in the eighty-eight blocks from past classes and the equal number of future classes. In addition, each individual block is very modest, implying that history should not be boiled down to a series of great monuments or 'great men,' but exists as multiple experiences. Although the project was a massive undertaking over four years, each block is personal and approachable."
- Tom Finkelpearl, Dialogues in Public Art (2000), Introduction to Chapter III: "Five Dialogues on Dialogue-Based Public Art Projects" and "Interview: Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel on Mnemonics


"I remember being intrigued by the blocks when I first came to Stuy, and wondering what my class would choose when it came time to fill our block."
- Sonia Von Gutfeld, '00

"I love the fact that you can leave a legacy in a small way. I don't know of another school that does this."
- Student, '09

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"There are very few people here right now who were part of the old building. It is very important that its history not be lost."
-Renee Levine, Former Building Coordinator, New Stuyvesant High School

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"There is a real sense of empirical investigation. Instead of relating to the world through a formula or working with a computer model, you are actually bringing something from the rest of the world and using it as a possibility of creating something new."
- Andrew Ginzel and Kristin Jones, interviewed in Tom Finkelpearl, Dialogues in Public Art (2000)

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