July 13 – November 3, 2019 Opening: July 12, 2019 (6 – 8pm)


‘Las Palabras son Muros [Pavilion for Astoria]’ (The Words are Walls [Pavilion for Astoria]) by artist Rafael Domenech is a collectively authored dynamic sculptural “book” project.

Scaffolding and construction mesh, provisional materials emblematic of the changing urban landscape, comprise the two semicircular towers of this outdoor piece. The mesh “pages” hanging from the scaffolding feature graphically dynamic laser-cut texts that rotate throughout the exhibition.

Domenech gleans these texts from visitors to the Park who can submit their words, phrases, and stories, which are selected through a digital algorithm. In its totality, experimental digital graphic technique and chance composition aggregates into an amalgamation of voices throughout the 16-week exhibition. Submit a message online at laspalabrassonmuros.info.

The work takes its title from a line of the poem Flamenco in Big Bang, a book of concrete poetry by Cuban artist, poet, and critic Severo Sarduy. ‘Las Palabras son Muros’ embodies some of the neo-baroque visual and textual metaphors that Sarduy identified and articulated in his writing. The ellipse, as a shape rendered in relation to two focii, represents the conditions of dislocation, decentralization, and eccentricity. These elements appear both formally and conceptually in the work. Duality reverberates in the pairing of the towers, the outer borough geography, and the experience of migration. These dualities, the dissolution of authorship, and the embrace of artifice and exuberance evince Sarduy’s aesthetics.

After the project concluded, Domenech produced a book combining the texts including reused elements of the weekly mesh installments. The result is a collection of fragmented perspectives conjoined into a new whole book. Learn more >>


Saturday Sculpture Workshop: Book as Architecture

Saturday, July 6 • 12-3PM

‘Las Palabras son Muros [Pavilion for Astoria]’ Opening Celebration

Friday, July 12 • 6-8PM

Poetry Reading: Cruel Optimism (after Lauren Berlant)

Sunday, July 21 • 5-6PM

Walk 1: Politics of Sharing Space

Monday, August 12 • 6PM

Puppet Show: Rupture/Ruptura

Saturday, August 24 • 2-6 PM

Fly: Kite Making Workshop

Saturday, September 7 • 3PM

Walk 2: Politics of Sharing Space

Friday, September 13 • Time 6PM

Wear: T-Shirt Printing Workshop

Sunday, October 20 • 3PM

Halloween Harvest: Lantern Workshop

Saturday, October 26 • 12-4 PM

‘Las Palabras Son Muros [Pavilion for Astoria]’ Catalogue Launch

Thursday, February 13 • 5:30-7:30PM • Hunters Point Library


Domenech created a beautiful limited-edition catalogue documenting ‘Las Palabras Son Muros [Pavilion for Astoria].’ Each publication comes with a custom mesh slipcover – made with the same material Domenech used to create his sculpture installation. Essays by Socrates Curator & Director of Exhibitions, Jess Wilcox, and Public Art Fund Curator, Dan Palmer, expand on Domenech’s work. The many phases of ‘Las Palabras Son Muros’ and accompanying programs are also documented in full-color images.

To purchase the catalogue in print for $30 + shipping, please email jm@socratessculpturepark.org with your request. To view the catalogue for free online, please click HERE.

Domenech also created a few special artist edition versions of the catalogue, which come in a customized box and include a t-shirt, instructional manuals from the exhibition’s public workshops, and more. To view or purchase, please click HERE.


‘Las Palabras son Muros [Pavilion for Astoria]’ was made possible with generous support from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.


Follow project updates on our website and social media, and join the conversation by tagging @SocratesPark and using the hashtags #SocratesSculpturePark, #RafaelDomenech #LasPalabrasSonMuros, #PavilionForAstoria when posting.