Fascinated with the variety and inventiveness of urban signage and seeking ways to create text-based videos, I began filming storefronts in 2010. My quixotic goal was to collect a comprehensive video-based lexicon as raw material for my own projects. Only later did I realize the 2,500+ videos also function as a manifold portrait of contemporary urban life in public spaces. Each video captures the day-to-day activities of the streetscape, documenting a wide ranging portrait of 21st century culture.
These storefronts serve as witness to the momentous and mundane even as they too are continuously transformed. I’m also converting Fronts into a public resource, YouTube meets StreetView, while encouraging spectators to become both contributors and creators. Every raw, unedited video is available at vimeo.com/channels/fronts. Crowdsourcing the collection serves both functions of the project, ensuring both a diverse portrait of our culture and as complete a lexicon as humanly possibly.
Nicholas Fraser creates installations, videos, and sculpture. He won a 2014 NYFA grant for his ongoing video project Fronts. He’s completed residencies at Skowhegan, Sculpture Space, LMCC’s Swing Space. He’s exhibited at the Bronx Museum, York College Gallery, Drawing Center, Interstate Projects, Flux Factory, Art in Odd Places, and Taller Boricua.