Soft-Firm's Drive-Thru

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) and Van Alen Institute, in partnership with Two Trees Management, is proud to announce Soft-Firm’s Drive-Thru at the Plaza at 300 Ashland. A reconfigurable outdoor theater, Drive-Thru will feature a series of videos and performances by Brooklyn artists and cultural organizations over eight weeks from February 17 to April 14 of 2022.

Cameron Blaylock for Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

Drive-Thru is the second major work of public art to be unveiled at The Plaza at 300 Ashland. Inspired by the classic drive-in movie experience, Drive-Thru comprises a reconfigurable outdoor theater that incorporates light through rear projection, serving as an outdoor cinema visible from the highly utilized intersection of Flatbush and Lafayette Avenues. Selected for the energy it will bring to one of Downtown Brooklyn’s most prominent open spaces during winter, Drive-Thru will showcase film and video by eight Brooklyn-based artists and filmmakers that highlight Brooklyn communities, explore themes of urban life, and connect to Black History Month and Women’s History Month.


February 17 - February 23: Ali Santana, Community: Rhythm / Movement / Joy (2022): Filmed on Lafayette Ave in 2012, this scene captures the rhythm, movement, joy and community tradition of BAM’s Dance Africa Street Bazaar.

February 23, 5:30-6:30PM: Launch of Drive-Thru honoring Black History Month: Senegalese Taneber Sunu Birr (Drum and Dance Circle): Mirroring the electrifying Senegalese drum and dance in the opening film, artist Babacar Top will lead a Sabar dance instruction followed by a Taneber, an open drum and dance circle that celebrates the power and culture of Senegalese tradition and honors African descendants who fought for freedom and liberation.

February 24 - March 2: Nicholas Fraser, Follow/Unfollow (2016): Captures New Yorkers as they travel the city’s ever-changing streetscape. As their paths cross in frame, a single person grows to two, two form a trio, the trio morphs into a crowd, stopping, shifting, and changing direction to a hypnotic effect.

March 2 - March 8: Simon Benjamin, Errantry (2021): Named after Édouard Glissant’s theory, Errantry is centered on the polyphonic rhythms of coastal space, the Caribbean sea, and the life sustained by it in a non-linear narrative that raises questions about time, labor, environmental degradation and the ongoingness of colonialism.

March 9 - March 15: Luna X Moya, What the Pier Gave Us (2021): A fisherman’s ordinary day at an undisclosed New York City pier becomes a visual metaphor for the immigrant experience in the United States. This short film is part of an upcoming feature-length documentary.

March 16 - March 23: Olalekan Jeyifous, The Frozen Neighborhoods (Fly-through) (2021): Depicts a future where poor and marginalized communities are cut off from travel, forcing them to develop advanced ecological technologies. This deceptively dystopian vision imagines the potential of community-focused innovation, creating a sustainable and self-contained world in Brooklyn.

March 25 - March 30: Tanika I. Williams, (construct) (Clearing (2021) and Sanctuary (2021): (construct) Clearing seeks to understand how we wear and repeat family patterns of silence and separation. Sanctuary illustrates the aftermath of African-Caribbean mothers leaving their daughters to immigrate to the United States, combining academic research, autobiographical expression, and archival interviews.

March 31 - April 5: Series of shorts by Ezra Wube: Flatbushtopia (2017), Bridge Street (2015), At the Same Moment (2013), Words of Wisdom (2016): This series of shorts offers snapshots of life across New York. The stop-motion animations, often developed with community input and participation, depict scenes in Flatbush, DUMBO, Jamaica, and on the subway.

April 6 - April 13: Aisha Amin, Choir (2020) and Friday (2019): Crosses experimental, narrative, and documentary forms. Her film Choir explores the world within one of New York’s most competitive youth choirs, while Friday is a portrait of the community within a historically Black Brooklyn mosque as it fights gentrification in New York City.


Drive-Thru is best viewed starting at dusk.

The Plaza at 300 Ashland is situated in the heart of the Brooklyn Cultural District, at the intersection of Lafayette Ave and Flatbush Ave. The plaza is easily accessible – located only a short walk from the B, Q, 2/3 and 4/5 subway lines at Atlantic Barclays, the G train at Fulton St, and the C train at Lafayette Ave, as well as a number of bus stops.

Tag us online using the hashtag #drive_thru!

@downtownbrooklyn | @soft-firm@van_alen

About the Artist

Soft-Firm is an interdisciplinary practice and flexible platform off which to expand design hunches into architectural ideas, spaces, and artifacts. Soft-Firm is speculative and concrete: taking a playful and lo-fi approach to visual perception, elemental forms, and material contrast. Using design as a tool of activism, Soft-Firm engages collaborative and progressive programs to promote equity in institutions and the architectural practice as a whole. The practice has designed interactive exhibitions and installations, residential and commercial projects, and published work in design magazines and academic journals. Soft-Firm project team includes Lexi Tsien and Talitha Liu with fabrication by Jono Isbell from Datum Zed.

About Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is a not-for-profit local development corporation that serves as the primary champion for Downtown Brooklyn as a world-class business, cultural, educational, residential, and retail destination. Managing three Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) that cover Downtown Brooklyn - the MetroTech BID, Fulton Mall Improvement Association, and Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn BID - the Partnership’s diverse activities include attracting new businesses and improving the environment for existing companies, facilitating the construction of public spaces and streetscapes that promote an active and cohesive community, supporting and promoting Downtown Brooklyn’s cultural assets, and encouraging a sense of place and an engaged civic community.

About Van Alen Institute

Van Alen Institute helps create equitable cities through inclusive design. In an equitable city, every person is civically engaged, regardless of income or personal circumstances. To achieve that goal, inclusive design supports a community-driven public realm.

For more than 125 years, our purposeful community engagement, convening capacity, and global interdisciplinary network have produced profound transformations in the public realm of New York City and beyond. With a core belief in an interdisciplinary approach to design, the Van Alen team has backgrounds in architecture, urban planning, public health, civic advocacy, community engagement, and arts and culture.

About The Plaza at 300 Ashland

The Plaza at 300 Ashland sits at the heart of the Brooklyn Cultural District, adjacent to the brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, and Park Slope. DBP has partnered with premier Brooklyn arts organizations such as BAM, BRIC, Brooklyn Public Library, Mark Morris Dance Group, MoCADA, 651 Arts, and Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) to offer free, high-quality programming for everyone. Programming at The Plaza at 300 Ashland is made possible by support from Two Trees Management Co.