My fence for I.S. 5 in Queens explores early experiments in human flight and how flight has changed not only the way we see our world but the history of immigration. Although Ellis Island was once the gateway for those who would become new citizens of the United States, now the entry point is most often one of the two international airports in Queens—Kennedy and LaGuardia.
Early experiments in flight were not only daring but also a testimony to the human imagination, exemplifying our courage and ability to dream and learn. I designed three panels and a gate for the Jacobus Street entrance to show in silhouette three of the more extraordinary early experiments in flight. Over the gate, Icarus, clad only in feathers, is portrayed in mid-flight. Adjoining panels depict the Montgolfier brothers’ 18th century balloons and Otto Lilienthal’s 19th century gliders, and other early attempts to become airborne. Around the corner, for the 51st Street run of fencing, appliqued cut steel quotations from early aviator-writers Antoine St. Exupery and Beryl Markham describe the wonder of the bird’s-eye-view that they, as pioneer aviators, were the among first humans to witness.