space /spays/ n.


1 a continuous unlimited area or expanse which may or may not contain objects, etc. 2 an interval of time 3 the universe beyond the Earth’s atmosphere

ship /ship/ n. & v. ::

1 (n.) a type of vessel 2 (v.) to embark

In every second of every day, as we go about our routines and rituals-- and whether we are attentive to it or not-- we move through, occupy, and alter space. For many of us, and for most of the time, that space is stable, predictable, and molded to create an atmosphere conducive to our own personal comfort zones. But if you examine space a little more closely-specifically, the physical structure of the environment in which you are an inhabitant-- you may happen upon one of many “cultural wrinkles” in contemporary mainstream society. Cultural wrinkles are similar in concept to universal wrinkles, a time-space travel theory based on the existence of wormholes in space, a phenomena that enables a physical entity to break the laws of physics based on the nature by which it is traveling. Cultural wrinkles instead transport innovation and intellectual evolution from one group of people to the next, disregarding any spatial blockades or other artificial constructs. They masterfully manipulate their surrounding

Space Ships
Issue 1 Volume 2

p8 Gillian McIver, Luna-Nera “Interconnection” p 10 Laurel Beckman “FLOTSPOT” p 10 Andrew Oesch, Megan Hall “re-mix (tape) for/of the city” p 11 Anna Shapiro “Making Waves” p 14 Ulrich Donitz “Space-Structure” p 14-15 Ulrich Donitz “An Interventionist Strategy”

p4 Trebor Sholtz “Free Your Collaboration”

ctive olle C

p5 JohnJ McGurk “Review of Traumkombinat” p6 N55 “[Collecting Systems]”


Contemporary Nomadism

ntionist Diaries Interve

ctices Pra

p 12 Shawn Micallef “Eastern Windsor” p 13 Matt Blackett “Regal Road Public School” p 16 Ted Kane “Urban Car Camping”

p 17 Alob Switt “Camp for Oppositional Architecture” p 17 Molly Wheelock “Mapping Empire”

environments to expose the arbitrariness of geopolitical lines, and peel away the meaningless signs that cloud our perception of the real. They lay bare the idiosyncratic practices that have become ingrained in our day-to-day interactions with society. Cultural wrinkles are necessary elements in provoking change and revolution; they are the situations that can, for a moment, whisk away the preconceived notions that have become associated with a particular space, and make new environments by skewing its context. They offer glimpses of uncharted worlds in the shadows of capital’s simulacra, and, like the universal sort of wrinkles, traversing through them can lead to a better understanding of our perceived environment as it exists within the larger context of our physical space. All traveling, though, begins with choosing the proper vessel for the journey. Suburbanites have cars, NASA has shuttles, Critical Mass has bicycles, and parades have floats. Determining which vessel will suit the voyage best requires careful planning and foresight. If we were to construct a ship that could voyage through these cultural wrinkles, we can envision no craft more space-worthy than that of a pirate ship. Pirates hijacked open spaces and claimed them for their own, lived like parasites on the back of fledgling colonialism, and fought battles to the death against whole fleets of Monarchial warships. It was their ships that spread word far and wide of their triumphs against the hierarchy, and it was their ships that became symbols synonymous with danger, independence, and the most exciting kind of freedom.
p 18 Marisa Jahn “Shopdropping”

p 19 “Shopdropping Marketing”

p 20 J Gabriel Lloyd “The Costly Evolution of a Large Beast”

Publi c vs. Priva te

p 22 Lori Napoleon “Mapping Memory”

p 24 Wendy Andringa “Superquadras of Brasilia”

Artists, philosophers, explorers, and architects are a few of those among us who have begun to reexamine the way our collective “public” space is divided, categorized, accessed, and restricted. Each space we move through—the morning commute, our day at school or the office, eating out at restaurant for dinner—is designated to serve a purpose, and strives to never deviate from its assigned behaviors. This assassination of free space spawned a thriving subculture of people who were interested in renegotiating the terms of the space with which they had been left. Acts of spatial defiance became known as “interventions”, and rumors began to circulate about the happenings that caused traffic to stop, people to pause, and memes to be spread. Flash mobs, free cooperation, open source learning, and street reclamations began to multiply in number, and so the space to freely exchange information became the new booty for today’s pirates. Establishing an environment that successfully takes advantage of the exposed wrinkles in our culture requires a heightened awareness of both the mainstream infrastructure and the idealized quest that inspires the subculture within it. A good pirate is a master of disguise, moving between this shadow and light with surety, and has long left town before his victims realize they have been robbed and his comrades understand the extent of his heroics. Space can be liberated through direct action and guerilla-style tactics, and it can be freed through the spread of cyber cultures and collectivist living experiments. It starts by reading an independently published periodical, taking a long walk by the ocean, or re-mapping a forgotten memory. It can spread by creating new networks of knowledge and experience, and it can inspire others to sail a black flagged ship through a wrinkle in pop culture and embark on a journey of discovery. -Meredith Younger, editor & Joan Wyand, guest editor

Free Cultu re


Free Your Collaboration
A variety of new tools for collective cultural practices emerged over the past few years. The Internet has become increasingly interwoven in the fabric of everyday life through mailing lists, chat rooms, collaborative weblogs and wikis. From Murray Bookchin to Buckminster Fuller there is the search for radically different configurations of society itself: a society that is based on a new ethics based on sharing and cooperation. How do contemporary forms of cultural production make use of newly available collaborative tools to subvert corporate models of forced cooperation and foster selforganized, independent modes of cultural production and dissemination? Collaboration means, “to work together to achieve the same goal that we could not achieve as individuals.” Cooperation suggests people assist each other, walk in parallels; but in creative industries, collaborations are often forced. In Gleicher als Andere, the German critic Christoph Spehr emphasizes that in Free Cooperation anybody can leave the cooperation at any time, taking with them what they had put in. Free Cooperation needs to pay off; even if there are disagreements, the cooperation needs to remain workable. There is no ideal cooperation in which nobody is taken advantage of—there are always elements of compromise. Examples of cooperative group models in the urban United States include Reclaim the Streets and Critical Mass. During the anti-war protests of 2003, cyclists in San Francisco, California, blocked major urban intersections and highways with hundreds of bicycles as part of Critical Mass. This was initiated by a leafleting campaign advertising times and dates of such actions, yet the campaign took place without any central leadership. Similarly, Reclaim the Streets is an equally decentralized model of taking back the public sphere. Other examples of community-organizing efforts include: broadcasting free radio, graffiti, and street parties. Jeff Ferrell highlights Radio Free ACTUP, The Micro-Radio Empowerment Coalition, and Slave Revolt Radio. The green movement exemplifies a type of temporary alliance that chooses no one particular subject position (e.g. class, gender, race) in pursuit of a shared goal (Laclau/ Mouffe). Founded in 1981, Paper Tiger TV presents a different consequential model of collaboration because it creates and distributes collectively produced activist video works that critique the media. The New York Citybased chamber orchestra, Orpheus, works without a conductor and rotates all of its functions among the musicians. Recent history provides many examples of collaborations, including: Bureau d’Etudes, Twenteenth Century,, Las Agencias, Luther Blissett, A-Clip, REPOhistory, Dorkbot, Art Workers Coalition, Critical Art Ensemble, Rtmark, and Group Material. Thinking of collaboration the most important art historical association is the Fluxus movement, which includes artists George Maciunas and Alan Kaprov. In 1961 Kaprov wrote the influential essay “Happenings in the New York Scene,” presenting his ideas about interaction. For Kaprov, a happening simply meant that “something happens” and that visitors get something to do— artist and spectator interact. Today, the obsession with objects as described by Walter Benjamin is replaced with the obsession for simulation and interaction (Nichols). Artists have taken the Internet on as a context for their work since its emergence, de-emphasizing individual authorship and answering Bertolt Brecht’s demand for an apparatus that goes beyond distribution and allows communication (1932). Early projects aiming at collaborative authorship include Robert Adrian X’s Die Welt in 24 Stunden (1983),

by Trebor Scholz
Roy Ascott’s project La Plissure du texte (1983), Norman White’s Hearsay (1984), Douglas Davis’ The World’s First Collaborative Sentence (1994) and the project Épreuves d’ecritures as part of the exhibition Les Immatrieux that was conceived by Jean-Francois Lyotard (1985). In the early 1990s projects like “De Digitale Stad” (Amsterdam) and “Internationale Stadt” (Berlin) established urban cooperative communities grouped around the idea of affordable access to the Internet for all. Art institutions are neither interested in, nor supportive of Free Cooperation. The artist is desired as exemplary sufferer and genius, not as somebody who is in control of her work. The logic of the art world and that of technology-based art are opposed to each other. The art world focuses on the romanticized idea of an author who creates an art object that can be distributed by many institutions. Technology-based art is variable, often ephemeral, discursive, conceptbased, existent in many copies, collaboratively authored, and can be distributed online. Over the past number of years, communication tools like video conferencing, live chats, web cams, instant messaging, wikis and collaborative weblogs have become inexpensive and readily available. These outlets pose an alternative to the costly and less flexible structure of universities. Collaborative weblogs have better chances to accommodate differences in communication styles than classroom situations. Consequentially, teachers may become primarily linkers to knowledge. Ted Nelson demands, “everybody must understand computers now!,” to take the power from the “computer high-ups.” This corresponds with Hans Magnus Enzensberger, who compares repressive uses of media with emancipatory applications. In these decentralized settings each receiver is a potential transmitter. The cooperative sound-experiment by the Xchange network (1997) exemplifies a resistance to the commercialization of the medium. More recently, online communication forums such as Friendster, LinkedIn, or Tribe offer easy-touse forums for interaction. For instance, Friendster is a web-based application allowing users to network their friends based on social profiles. Free text books are put online at Wikibooks(.org), and many texts can be found at the Gutenberg Project ( The project Opentheory(.org) applies ideas of Free Software to the development of texts as users of the site improve on each others’ submissions. Wikiversity expresses the goal of facilitating learning through the Wiki-real-time logging format. The online initiative Wikipedia will become more comprehensive than classical encyclopedias in a few years. The aforementioned open content formats introduce a new production paradigm, offering new annotational and editorial opportunities and a potential for broad participation in the knowledge commons— from the collection, and re-combination, to the distribution of knowledge. In the context of the post-welfare state economy, these ideas of open theory and open content are also introduced into self-organized educational projects such as the “The University of Openess”( Collaborations should start with the building of trust, testing out the compatibility of values and interests, instead of immediately focusing on the project goals. Social resources like trust, mutual respect, tolerance and shared values make it easier for people to work together. Based on this trust, true communication can take place. The term collaboration assumes that there is a common goal and that group participants share responsibility for it. Therefore, each collaborator needs

How do contemporary forms of cultural production make use of newly available collaborative tools to subvert corporate models of forced cooperation and foster self-organized, independent modes of cultural production and dissemination?


Review of Traumkombinat
A member of PIPS joined the collective on the adventure known as Traumkombinat in the small city of Brandenburg, an hour west of Berlin. Club Real is: Marianne Sonneck, Georg Springer, Thomas Hauck, Christoph Theussl, in collaboration with Florian Gass. Opening Act Club Real was looking for a space that could function as a center for dream research and collective subconscious cooperation. After a tram ride we arrived at the site, found in the heart of the housing projects of Brandenburg. A strange familiarity was apparent in the design of the space, as if they exist all over the world. The specific building is found and we proceed to gain access. It is concrete and cinder blocks with one main door and no windows. Apparently, this space we are about to enter was never used for anything, just an order to build for no particular reason. Intermission Club Real moved ten tons of sand into the middle of the space, dismantled found furniture, and cleaned the interior. Creating new furniture and hanging the promotional sign took place, and Traumkombinat was well on its way to performance time. Details such as lighting and the hanging of a translucent screen were important for the success of the project. Luckily the group was sponsored and had a flat to sleep and take breaks. Finale On performance night we were greeted at the entrance by a chipmunk in exercise clothing. We are allowed entrance one by one... Inside, we are greeted and led into the tea room. We all sit down for a cup of tea. An image of the mad hatters table in Alice in Wonderland flashes in the mind. Just like Alice, we are voluntarily gathering here to explore the deeper parts of the rabbit hole. Visions of future generations using dreaming as a communication tool seems possible here. Dimly lit, one can hardly see the strange objects hidden in the corners of the room. After tea, we are invited by the Chipmunk to enter the

Club Real Performance, Hohenstucken, Brandenburg 7/16, 2004
by JohnJ McGurk
glowing room of sand located in the center of the space. A 20ft screen has been erected in the shape of a cube, and a small box is located in the middle of the sandpit. The dreamers are led into the space and everyone gets ready for bed. A bell rings and the lights dim. An ant-eater and his alter ego appear and begin to communicate and play. Through a series of actions, some aggressive, others loving, the characters develop a meaningless relationship. Meaningless only because once a coherent metaphor or symbol begins to take shape the surrealist impulses take over and nonsense ensues. A large ear and nose enter and help the main characters with their foolish undertakings. A bike race takes place, with the two whirling around the outside of the sleeping area. All these can be easily seen because of the transparent screens. At one point the overwhelming feeling that one was already dreaming took over and the distinction between sleep and awake became hazy. This may also be attributed to the calm of the atmosphere and the slow movements of the players involved. But this effect is desired in an age when real, virtual, and digital space

blur into a fantastic barrage of imaginary desires and real concerns. It was good to be in an atmosphere where such things could be calmly thought about, adding to the feeling that one had entered a temple of dreams... Would ant eaters be in my dreams? Would people dream the same things? Would there be beds with rockets for legs? These are the thoughts running through the mind as the performance ends and the bell slowly chimes away to close the performance. …Old elementary school friends and teachers eating sushi and playing soccer. Goals blocked by known and unknown classmates, strange mixtures of past, present, and future friends… We were woken by the same bell that put us to sleep and the spell was broken. At breakfast, discussion of the dreams seemed to be limited, a strange uneasy feeling seemed to be present. Had we all, deep down in the depths of the rabbit hole, had some kind of group subconscious moment, or were we just a little shaken from a night spent on a temporary beach? I think of the religious pilgrims who travel to Mecca each year and circle the holy shrine in groups of thousands. Is this not a similar attempt at collective dreaming, a complete loss of inhibition? With the uneasiness comes an understanding that in Alice’s world we are the most exposed and the Mad Hatter can make fun of our inability to truly understand our collective existence. JohnJ McGurk, July, 2004

to be given authority over her task. Collaborators need to get to know each other as people and need to find out about each other’s agency and professional needs. Collaboration requires genuine dialogue, a human encounter full of presence; this requires the skills of receptivity and responsiveness. At times, the dedication to the other person can be a bit scary, thus collaboration does not work for everybody. The ABC’s of collaboration demand that needs are addressed and lines of communication kept open. Collaborations need to constantly change and question themselves, otherwise they will get trapped in their own definition. Collective leadership is another important issue. Leadership should take turns in a collaboration. Leadership is usually defined by commitment of time, energy, resources and intellectual contribution. Commonly, the person who contributes the most to a project has the most say. This dynamic endangers the cooperation, as it marginalizes the otherwise more silent or withdrawn group members. Collaboration and consultation are increasingly inevitable, since

technology-based artwork requires deeper levels of specialization bringing together technological and conceptual components. On- and offline there is the risk of involuntary altruism caused by the possibility of freeloaders in the collective process. We must ask: whose labor becomes invisible and which type of labor comes to the front stage? These issues of crediting are more developed in theatre, dance, architecture, music and film, where each person receives credit for her individual contribution. Some members of the Open Source movement suggest a tit-for-tat strategy based on exchanges of effort—one gives a bit of code and then receives a bit. Comparably, Jazz and Dance Improvisation actors study the moves of the others, and take turns leading. However, this improvisational freedom needs to be based on discipline (Brubeck). At best, collaborations can playfully spark off one another, with a “third body” resulting from a chorus (Green). The free development of each individual is the condition for the free development of all (Marx/ Engels), although commonly, self-sacrifice and giving up of personal gain rather than freedom are associated

with collaborative work. Murray Bookchin’s hope for radically new configurations of society based on sharing and cooperation can inspire us to a positive active imagination of the future that impacts our collaborative experiments and explorations in the present online and face-to-face. But in the end we should view our collaborations and the tools that facilitate them as what they are without mistaking them for our utopian projections.
Trebor Scholz is a German-born, New York-based media artist, writer and organizer who works collaboratively and individually in the fields of media art, event-based cultural practice, new media arts education, and interactivist media cartography. In 2004 Scholz founded the Institute for Distributed Creativity ( He has taught new media, art history and theory at The University of Arizona, and The Bauhaus University, and is assistant professor and researcher at the Department of Media Study, SUNY at Buffalo. In spring 2005 the book “The Art of

Online Collaboration” (editors Lovink/Scholz) will be published by oe/b_books, Berlin.


Flyers were distributed in the city of Moriya, Japan, informing about [Collecting System]; the collection of paper materials from home and work places. The donated paper was either delivered to the school or it was picked up.

[Places producing Unused Material > Collecting System]: Paper was collected from September to December in the city of Moriya, Japan.

[Cooking Glue]: The rice have to be boiled in plenty of water through a whole day. The rice will go through a sieve and there will be added boro salts into the paper in relation to decay, mould and pests.

[Paper Brick]: Constructed of rice glue and collected shredded paper.

3-D drawing of [Paper Dwelling > Learning by Sea Urchin, Model 1:1].

Block sizes for [Paper Dwelling > Learning by Sea Urchin, Model 1:1]. The cardboard is cut and glued together.

A dwelling constructed out of unused materials, Monterrey, Mexico. A satellite antenna is used as a small roof.

A new neighbourghood with a kindergarden and public school which are shared with the squatted area. The city will reach the land sooner or later. The conditions are that the squatted area has to adopt the urban model or leave the area to further terrains.


[Places producing Unused Material > Collecting System]: The unused materials were used for constructing [Paper Dwelling > Learning by Sea Urchin, Model 1:1], and working with [Cooking Glue] and [Paper Brick].

[Places producing Unused Material > Collecting System]: Collecting site.

[Walking City] was built from materials from [Collecting System] in cooperation with 78 persons from Goshu Elementary School, Moriya, Japan.

[Walking City]: After a few days of constructing wearable buildings, the city walked out of the school.

[Paper Dwelling > Learning by Sea Urchin, Model 1:1] is constructed out of cardboard gathered from [Collecting System]. The structure is copying the shell of a Sea Urchin.

The dwelling is being used in the education place AIT, Tokyo. After, it will be moved under a bridge or other existing shelter as a way to integrate with the already existing constructions in the city, becoming a part of the construction.

[Collecting System]: [Collecting System] is a system that is made for collecting unused materials, to be used in local daily life. [Collecting System] is made for collecting unused material, to be used for education, research and other things. Info about [Collecting System] in practice: In Japan, unused materials produced by household are state property and controlled by the state. However, in many municipalities, the collecting system of unused materials is privatized, but even so information of the collecting system is still produced and managed by the municipalities. Parallel to this pirate companies are collecting unused materials. This means that it is difficult for anybody to get access to the production of unused materials. In Japan, most of the unused materials are named as “Valued Garbage”. Much of the unused materials are being shipped to areas where it is inexpensive to have it transformed and sold as new products; containers etcetera.

The [Collecting System] was set up in Moriya, Japan 2004. It collected shredded paper and cardboard, for experiments with producing [Paper Brick], for constructing insulated dwellings [Paper Dwelling > Learning by Sea Urchin, Model 1:1], and making [Walking City]. [Collecting System] is going to be established in a periphery zone of the city of Monterrey, Mexico, 2005. In this area there are about 300 families living on squatted land. The economy of the place is constituted by self employment and from collecting unused materials from which they obtain construction materials that later on are used for building temporary dwellings. A way to have more sustainable housing is to merge into the already existing and expanding urban planning of the city. This is done by using the same architectonic traits as legal dwellings. Concrete is used as a main material, which is a big local industry. [Collecting System] will copy the economy and methods that are carried out in the area in order to research materials for building systems and dwellings.
Learning Poster #001, 2005. By N55: Julio Castro, Cecilia Wendt, Rikke Luther and Brett Bloom


Interconnection: life and art in a forgotten Russian town
by Gillian McIver
1 – Kronstadt – the arrival As the crow or gull flies over Kotlin Island, its tiny eye will be puzzled about what it sees on the land below. On the right side of the island lies the town of Kronstadt. Or is it a town? From the air it looks more like the mechanistic workings of a giant clock or other device, vast in scale, but every part measured and fixed, purposeful and precise. A great machine carved into the landscape, surrounded by the straggly fixtures of a town. In June 2004, we, the Luna Nera group of artists, made our second residency in the town of Kronstadt, a settlement founded in 1704 by Peter the Great on Kotlin Island in the Gulf of Finland. The aim of the residency was to continue our encounter with this unique urban space, and to make interventions in the landscape as well as to create a body of work for future exhibition. Our first project, “Cross Encounters”, was about the initial encounter with the place. We had come to Kronstadt almost by accident, an invitation formed by chance meetings and unexpected coincidence. On our second visit we stayed longer, and attempted to dig deeper. By the standards of most European settlements, Kronstadt is very new, only 300 years old, but has an astonishing amount of unique and significant marine architecture. Peter I (“the Great”) built Kronstadt as the most modern structure in the world, a showcase for military-naval architecture of its time. No expense was spared from the vast Imperial Russian coffers in its construction. The town was built around a complex system of canals and pools which ensured that provisioning, repairing and re launching of the ships could be done quickly and efficiently like a machine. The entire town served this process. For centuries it was the pride of the Russian navy, imperial and Soviet. Until the 1980’s the town boasted a Letniy Sad (summer garden) with a concert bowl for jazz and classical concerts and an underground ice house for cooling drinks and ice creams all summer long; clubs and concessions provided entertainment and leisure for all. In the late 1980’s big construction programs began to link the island to the mainland with a new bridge and with an underwater tunnel. But in 1989 everything suddenly just stopped. A town of some 40,000 people, the official unemployment rate is 50%, but locals assert that the true figure is something like 70 or even 80%. Of course, many work in the city of St. Petersburg on the mainland. Until 1989 most people were involved in or employed by the military. Now most of these jobs have gone, only the naval school is hanging on. So the stark shock of change is still evident in the life of the community. Until 1996, Kronstadt was a closed area to all foreigners, and to most Russians. The fascinating Petrine-era and later architecture, its vast naval storehouses and canals, its elegant palaces and exquisite naval cathedral were known only in illustrations. However, now Kronstadt is in a state of transition as the systems that supported and maintained its splendour have disappeared. Art as a means of regenerating moribund communities is an accepted practice in the west (with mixed results) and had not been tried before in Russia. Our mission in Kronstadt in both projects was not to create an exhibition, or a permanent art space, but rather to create a creative atmosphere for art practice, and to open the debate about the possible role of art in activating interest in the local community. 2 - Interconnection – bringing contemporary art to Kronstadt “Interconnection” attempted to explore transcommunication, bringing artists and local people together to create something new out of what was already there. The experience of being resident in Kronstadt was not an end in itself, but part of an ongoing process. Russian artists from St. Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod joined Luna Nera’s own international contingent (Canadian, German, Italian and British). Together we sought a unifying theme and jumping-off point from which to begin to look at this unique site. We found our theme in radio. By sighting a plaque on the wall of one building, we found that Kronstadt was one of the sites where wireless communication was first created. Alexander Popov was a naval scientist who made the first known radio transmission, in Kronstadt in 1895. Followed soon after by Marconi and others, Popov could have had no idea that his efforts to create a system to rescue ships in distress would usher in a totally new era of media culture that would affect the entire world in a very short time. The theme of the project thus became “HOMAGE TO POPOV.” During the residency we made audio art from field recordings of material collected in Kronstadt and St. Petersburg – conversations, explanations, medium and short-wave radio broadcasts, old recordings found in the flea market, the metro and taxibus, ships passing, and so on. Artist Eugene Strelkov collected audio waves from the Baltic Sea. And we explored the mysterious structures found all over Kotlin: the navy’s mechanical system of locks and channels; the cranes that have stood still for fourteen years; the enormous “cemetery” of marine detritus scattered on the shore; the necklace of sea forts offshore on tiny man made islands; the harbour bristling with warships; the military parade welcoming the new sailors to Kronstadt, and the 18th century fortress, used in the failed rebellion of 1921 and, more successfully, to keep the Nazi fleet from making a final assault upon St. Petersburg. Immersion in the life of Kronstadt had its own issues. The Western artists were fascinated by its unique layout and architecture, while aspects of the living conditions were daunting. To the Russian participants, however, most incredible was actually working in this place, long known only from reputation and legend. Living our daily lives there was unusual too because it was White Nights, so the sun did not set, and all night long the island was awake and active, with people eating and drinking and strolling under the pink twilight sky. At the conclusion of the residency, we held an open air live art event with a picnic. We set up several installations, and a large army tent on a grassy verge in the town centre surrounded by trees, where we presented video animations and digital photo-slide shows made during our sojourn. Outside we set up a mini “pirate radio” station

“The opening of the site to art is a brief, interventionist moment, not a permanent condition.”

Video animation by Valentina Floris at Kronstadt’s Interconnection


with dozens of small radios (sourced from markets and junk shops) embedded in the ground and hung in the trees, all tuned to the same FM station, broadcasting audio-mixes via a very lowfrequency signal. As the site was in public space by the canal path, it was open to all to take part. We were initially afraid that it might be difficult to make contact with the life of the community, especially as, aside from our two interventions, there was never any attempt to bring contemporary art there before. The organisation that hosted us unfortunately disapproved of the idea that so-called “simple people” would be involved and invited to the project. However, when we presented our work to them, the locals came, and found it interesting. They appreciated the fact that we showed them an outsider’s view of the place, and invited them to see their familiar environment in a new way. 3 – permanence and transience: site specificity and site research The period of our residence in Kronstadt was one of impermanence and transience. Likewise, the work that we produced in the form of audio recordings, video and photography is mutable, reproducible and transferable into different media. What we have done in Kronstadt and in other similar projects 1, is create something which is siteresponsive rather than narrowly site-specific. The act of responding to and creating out of, situations and environments that are themselves fluid and mutable is different from “making work” which is specific to a particular physical space – implying permanence and immutability. The nomadic principle is at work here, and in similar projects bringing artists together across national and cultural boundaries. The great changes of the modern world - since 1989 for example - have caused artists as well as everyone else to react to the ease of movement of people and cultural products around the globe. Whether this is a new freedom, or simply a reaction to change, is impossible to determine. Working in such a unique place highlights many issues around art and site-response. Is site-response as art practice a temporary reaction to specific social, political and economic situations and discourses? Or is it a new direction or movement in art, marked by close interaction with specific realities and hybrid media? Perhaps it is far too early in the history of this fragile and tentative movement to make any conclusions. The peculiar subtle difference of site-response as opposed to site-specific, which involves an insistence on the actual dialectic between artist and all aspects of the space, not only the physical, means that there may be less

chance for any characteristic mode of operation to occur. There is great potential for site-responsive art to develop this dialectic, to constantly create fresh interventions into “everyday life” while at the same time universalising through art the concerns that are, at their base, bound in human time and space. Hence, the opening of the site to art is a brief, interventionist moment, not a permanent condition. A consciousness not only of time but of change or flux is at the very foundation of this type of work. Different experiences of time and change intersect: historical time (the lived experience of the site); material time (the materials used); experiential time (the actual period of the intervention). The particular experience of being Kronstadt on its tercentennial anniversary, made us conscious of the three hundred years of time and change to consider. Our task became the act of transcribing the specific and particular moment of our intervention, into the shared or non-specific language of art. 4 - What we brought and what we left behind Our Kronstadt work has been exhibited in Berlin and Montreal, and is available on a DVD and online where it can reach innumerable audiences. This is one example of the “particular to the universal” that site-responsive work is empowered to do. We hope that exhibiting this project will both stimulate an interest in Kronstadt itself, and to show how site-responsive art can begin a dialogue to help communities reappraise and re-value their locality. At the same time, our experience of Kronstadt awakened us to some very real and specific aspects of live in the post-Soviet system. While we were there, the anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War was marked on Kronstadt. For Russia, the nation which suffered the most in the war, this will always be a sad and sober occasion. But in Kronstadt as we watched bus and boatloads of retired admirals and captains pour into the little town, in threadbare uniforms, from places as far flung as Murmansk, Solchi and Vladivostok, we could sense their sadness, not at the passing of time and change, but at the sacrifice and disinheritance of these people. Several kilometres away, the city of St.. Petersburg, which Kronstadt spent 300 years defending, shone with its newly-painted facades and glittering shops, as insubstantial as air to the sombre-faced old sailors strolling by the harbour. For the people of Kronstadt, who have seen their historic town fall into decline, there are issues of pride, isolation, opportunities and the impact of globalisation at stake. And so Kronstadt is not only a small island town off the cost of St. Petersburg, but is a microcosm of the world in its state of 21st century flux and uncertainty, where wealth and poverty exist side by side but rarely touching, where a sense of the past and one’s place in it is continually challenged by feelings of insecurity and the ever-quickening rush of time. We hope that exhibiting this project will both stimulate an interest in Kronstadt itself, and to show how site-responsive art can begin a dialogue to help communities reappraise and re-value their locality.
Gillian McIver is a member of the Luna Nera group, and curated the Kronstadt project. Contributing artists were Julian Ronnefeldt (lead artist); Valentina Floris and Ben Foot, Hilary Powell, Agnes Domke, Dirizhable Group (Eugene Strelkov, Olga Khan, Andrey Suzdalev, Mikhail Pogarsky) and assistant curator Oleg Ikona. (Endnotes) 1 Luna Nera has made site-responsive projects in Berlin, Zurich, London and Nizhny Novgorod (with Dirizhable).

Kronstadt in 1887 The arrow shows the site of the project Kronstadt 2004 Interconnection.

Kronstadt today The arrow shows our site again, but as you can see some new things have been added since 1887, as well as many blocks of flats and the splendid Naval Cathedral (completed 1913). However many of the features of two centuries ago such as the harbour, parks, the canals and basins, are still there and dominate the island’s landscape.



Flicker Occasioned Trance Spot [a project dispersed]
by Laurel Beckman
The human flicker fusion threshold is gauged at 16 Hertz (cycles per second): The observer can visually perceive the pulsation of light occurring 16 times per second or less. Carefully observed light flicker encourages human brainwave (hz) synchronization rates for Deep Relaxation (Alpha 8-13 hz), Semi-consciousness (Theta 4-7 hz), and Deep Unconsciousness (Delta .5-3.5 hz). FLOTSPOT asks participants to place stickers at locations where light flicker is observed, such as a malfunctioning light bulb, occasioning an opportunity for individual or group trance states. FLOTSPOT enables individuals to mark or create the sites of their own trance experiences while inviting those who see the stickers to obtain their own singular or group semi-conscious states. It is hoped that the public display of FLOTSPOT stickers will suggest the viability and productivity* of collective trance states. Logistics: 1. Marking sites Photocopy or download the 4.5-inch round FLOTSPOT emblem and print it on white, 81/2x11inch-sticker paper. You can fit 3 emblems on one sheet. Non permanent sticker label stock is more polite than permanent labels. Two sources for the label stock are- where you can get 100 sheets of eight and half by eleven White Removable Adhesive Labels (laser/ink jet) for $12.95. Avery brand number 6465 at http://www. is another source, these cost $21.59 for 25 eight and half by eleven sheets. Sometimes you can find them in a local office supply store, such as Staples or Office Depot. Trim around periphery of image/s to result in a round sticker. Print and trim many copies. Carry the stickers with you at all times. When you happen upon a flickering, malfunctioning light bulb of any kind, carefully observe the pulsating light until you feel your brainwaves synchronizing, transporting you to an altered mental state of semi or full trance. Mark the site in a visible location with a sticker for others to follow suit. 2. Creating sites Tool list: wire cutter, electrical tape, razor blade, fluorescent light lamp starter (4-60W, cheap metal type, not electronic type) Locate a site, indoors or outdoors, that will accommodate 2 or more people. Six or more capacity, with comfortable seating, is optimum. The site must have one or more (40 watt or less) tungsten light sources with at least one accessible electrical cord leading to the tungsten bulb. Holding the electrical cord, carefully slice a 2-

inch split between the two covered wires using a razor blade or xacto knife. . Using wire cutters, cut completely through one of the wires and its plastic covering. Remove/strip the plastic covering from 1 inch of both ends. Twist wires clockwise on each end to form a tight grouping. Attach each twisted wire to one of the “little button” connectors on top of fluorescent starter. Wrap finished connections with electrical tape to prevent open sparking. With light bulb attached to end of circuit, plug in and turn on lamp. For more information, look to http://www. The patched-in fluorescent starter causes the tungsten bulb to flash erratically, but typically stays well within Theta and Delta hz levels of (Theta 4-7, Delta .5-3.5) pulses per second, the semi-consciousness and deep unconsciousness zones. Invite friends and strangers to observe the light pulsations with you. Afterwards, mark the site with a sticker so that others may take advantage of your handiwork. *FLOTSPOT re-forms the notion of productivity. We are decididly not concerned with efficiency, economy, or use. We do not want to contribute to progress, as it’s commonly understood. We know that to truly move forward we must first move upward. By elevating our mind/bodies from petty individualistic concerns towards the synchronization of our collective brainwaves we travel up from the base and into the exquisite. What of goals? We are not interested in goals. We are interested in states of being, in collective social spaces, in collective consciousness. We re-purpose the ideals of 20th century remote connectivity, to a 21st century connectivity effected through collective altered mental states. We know that this leads to compassion, as synchronized neurons re-form the status quo through affinity and empathy.

Cut this out to mark your local group trance locations or download it at

Laurel Beckman is currently Assistant Professor of Art in Integrated 2D Digital Media at the University of California Santa Barbara. She has brought FLOTSPOT to New Yorkers at Glowlab’s Psy-Geo Conflux last year. You can email her with your FLOTSPOT experiences at

re-mix (tape) for/of the city
These are transcripts. the words are meant to be heard and spoken. Some of these words are directions. we want you to follow us as we explore the city. Instructions: find a copy of John Fahey’s song “Sligo river blues” and play as accompaniment while reading. definitions: Mixtape - A collection of songs and sounds put together. When you compile a list of songs into a new order, you have recoded the language of the music into your own series of meanings. Often, this is intended for someone you care about, given as a present. {this is a letter to a friend. Okay, we’re going to go for a walk. The first thing you are going to do is step out of your house and start walking towards the nearest major street. Don’t walk too fast-you’ll turn down the first side street.}

by Andrew Oesch and Megan Hall

use the term “Our City” interchangeably with whatever city we live in. By being here and living here we make it ours. We share possession, it’s not my city or your city, it’s our city. {Go straight for one more block past the school buses. see the house on the corner? there’s something I want to show you. look behind the gates, there’s a fountain. when i walked by during the summer, the fountain was on, it was gurgling, but now every time I walk past, it’s silent and it just looks sort of wet because of the way it is painted. I don’t know why I think this fountain is important, but it’s not just because of the pretty water sounds it used to make. Something about the spirit of placing this gurgling thing in the corner of a yard, facing the street, makes it like a little offering to the neighborhood. And without the water, it seems muted in some way. Every time I walk by I have this small wish that the water will be on again. that thought keeps my walks around this corner feeling expectant, like waiting for a postcard or a letter in my mailbox without knowing if it will ever come.} Density of the city- We pick and choose our place in the layers of the city. The maps we typically associate with places only cover roads, water bodies, and the occasional landmark. But the city is composed of much more, each day through our lives we carve pathways and lay out new maps. In the density of all these different routes we can easily find ourselves lost. In this lost state, with

Active Radio- to mobile community, a verb. This word is what the project is all about.The term is still elusive because we are in the process of defining it for ourselves. {while you’re walking, I want to tell you what this is all about. Radio is a very personal thing. When you listen to it, it feels like one person is talking to you, not to a vast group of listeners in an auditorium somewhere Radio is a very local thing too- these conversations are flung through the air and only reach as far as the strength of the signal. we’ve created this walk to emphasis radio’s greatest strengths, that it’s local and that it’s personal.} The City- A center of population, commerce, and culture. A town of significant size and importance. Our city is Providence, a post-industrial town in New England, where we make our livings. It’s the “Renaissance City.” A couple hours between New York and Boston, it is the awkward sibling stuck in between. Roger Williams called Providence “A place for persons distressed for conscience.” In certain ways we’re part resident, part outsider. This place might not be our city forever, and we


Making Waves
by Anna Shapiro
“…we have to multiply poetic subjects and objects-which are now unfortunately so rare that the slightest ones take on an exaggerated emotional importance-and we have to organize games of these poetic objects among these poetic subjects.” -Guy Debord, Toward a Situationist Iternational, June 1957 You are being presented with a personal wave— or, rather, a newsprint of a scan of a folded photocopy of a video image of a wave that I found at Orient Point in Revere by Logan Airport on the Boston Harbor in the early summer of 1999. You may cut it out and keep it. You may want to color it (mine is a rich cyan blue.) You may want to carry it in your pocket and take it out to show your friends. You may want to stop a stranger in the street and show it to him or her or them. You may want to photograph him or her or them with it. You may want to copy or scan the photograph you take and send it to me in a letter or in an e-mail— I may want to know all the places this modest little wave has been. I began this process of making waves and sharing waves a few years ago. It is an enjoyable experience and makes most people smile. I glued the image of my found wave onto a piece of canvas to keep it together so that it would not fall apart as I folded it up and carried it with me everywhere, and I have traveled around the country with this wave in my pocket. Frequently, I would slip my hand inside my pocket to feel the small package that only I knew was there, and that only I knew was a wave. I stopped people on the street to ask them if they would like to participate. If they did, I reached into my pocket and pulled out the small folded object; if not, I politely walked away. The participatory individual would unfold the intimate little canvas- backed object, and I was

able to enjoy seeing the wonder, bewilderment and recognition, the emotion spread across their face. It was a shared moment—me and a stranger on the street, holding a displaced captured wave in our hands, examining it carefully, preciously, sometimes upside-down. It was a bit of color and fun in the urban, hard, concrete landscape. I would capture images of strangers holding the little unfolded wave, if they let me. I accumulated these images of people holding the displaced, well cared for wave from the Boston Harbor. I began to create photomontages and presented them for public view, and I came to be known as the wavelady. The adventures of this wave continue in many

ways and I hope that you will participate by cutting it out and keeping it; coloring it; carrying it in your pocket or purse, and taking it out to show your friends as well as strangers. I hope that you take photographs with this little wave from Revere in many places around the world, and I hope that you will send an copy of these photographs to me at, or to wavelady, 400786, Cambridge MA, 02140.

Anna Shapiro has a studio in Somerville MA, works as an artist in residence at the Steel Yard in Providence, RI, and is the director of Boston Sculptors Gallery. You can see more examples of Anna’s work at

the mapped routes left behind, we feel alienated from all the abundance of the city. This contrast of standing alone looking at the abundance emphasizes a feeling of loneliness. {at the end of the block, we’re going to go to the right around this corner underneath the large tree.} Three different roles emerge in relationship to the densitythe participant in pre-existing mapped routes, the person who is immersed in making their own routes, and there is the spectator. We are participating in all three. Standing apart we act as documenters of the space, in the act of documenting, our process makes us act as participants, and our events carve new stories into the spaces. {Coming up on the left there is a chain link fence, and the bunny is not there. . . there’s no bunny. In late spring, my partner and I would pass by and there was a bunny that was living in that fence, it was shoved waist high into the pole at the end here- some child’s discarded stuffed animal left to linger on the sidewalk. It was moved a couple of times but never left the corner. Sometimes, I used to find it shoved inside the pole head down, butt up. Any time I had a flat tire, or for some other reason decided to walk home, I’d pass by this corner to check on the bunny, and it was always there. The afternoon I broke up with my partner, I went by the corner and there was no bunny. And so I thought- no bunny- no more, it was over, and my partner agreed.}

What is the nature of this experience? At first we thought that we were not altering the space because we were just walking around. But, in fact, we are. By bringing a group of people into the space with a radio that’s blasting noise we (both us and the participants) fill the place with recordings of itself along with different sounds; reflecting the space onto itself. This strange sort of mirror is more accurately described as a remix of the city, as opposed to a mixtape for the city. This is the origin of the mutated title re-mix(tape) for/of the city. {As we cross the street, look out for automobiles. So up here on the right, at this house we watched a family come home, with this amazing little adorable girl. who as they were approaching the house said to mom, “mommy-I love you” and as they got closer to the door, reminded dad, “daddy- check the mail.” it was this amazing, poignant and almost strange interaction} For the people who experience these events first hand it is contrived and not imaginative. They are not there by happenstance, their route is intentionally planned and ordered. The radio talks about, and scores music to what is immediately in front of their eyes. In a way its like going to a play, but in addition , the viewer is part of a greater play. The performance of the viewer is scripted but unrehearsed, and as directors we have little to no control over their improvisations. Misreading a line could lead towards a wrong turn. But the participants want to be shuttled through the space. On any day they can choose their own paths through the city. The excitement lies in this

idea of the inverse tour- de-familiarizing with the familiar, in contrast to the typical tour which is a familiarization with the foreign. The performance they are viewing is the city; the performance city is viewing is them. {I was recently talking with my friend about the nature of Providence. There is this constant wall that is put up between strangers on the street. This disassociation is so strange in a city that is at times painfully small. There are pockets where those walls fall, but at most times when wandering the streets you often feel the stares of the people around you callously moving through the space. The weight that bears down and compels the shutting out of others can be simply dissolved by a smile and a warm hello. But at times even this is not enough. At the end of this colonnade of trees we reach our conclusion. This place is somewhere I like to take my friends, particularly at night. For many, the journey is their first time to the space, most never even imagined it existed. This massive plaza is swallowed in the tininess of downtown and its unconnected streets, left for only the pigeons to enjoy. I found this place the first summer I was in Providence. I was making this place my home. I love to wander the city at night, because the streets are left open for anyone to claim.}
re-mix(tapes) for the city can be heard live on Providence, RI’s WBSR, 88.1 FM. watch for the posters around town to catch radio driven bike derives...


Eastern Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Windsor, Ontario sits across the river from Detroit. The east side of Windsor, upriver, gets me thinking about cocktail parties, Tupperware parties, quiet Pierre Trudeau support and Windsor people getting married and living in their first apartments. I get this feeling when I drive through there now – it’s derived from a few photographs and some yellow tinted memories I have from the mid to late 70s. It’s nostalgia for an era that I didn’t really participate in, but one that is very much part of Windsor for me. It’s a happy, clean, straight, 6-cylinder vision. In 1971 my parents were newly married and moved into the Madrid Apartments. It’s a low rise building, maybe five or six stories, red brick, balconies – a ubiquitous semi-urban slab that in no way resembles the Spanish capital – but that’s half the fun. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a geographical reference, but I prefer this over the fauxgrand names used today like “The Pinnacle”. The building is right near the terminus of Wyandotte Street, and sits in the middle of about 4 blocks of similar apartments, all built during the 1960s. Some of them are U shaped and feature an outdoor pool in the interior courtyard. These aren’t great buildings or notable in anyway by themselves, but I attach this sort of cozy happiness to them – everybody out on a hot July afternoon, surrounding the communal pool, BBQing hotdogs, drinking Labatts 50 in stubby bottles listening to the Big 8’s 50,000 watts of AM power. In the pictures from this era, say 1966 until 1974, when I was born, Windsor seems like an oasis of calm and full employment. Unlike much of Tecumseh Road or Huron Church, wide arterial roads that cut through the city which have become bigbox East Side Mario wastelands, Wyandotte Street East has retained much of its post war features. I don’t think UNESCO should rush in and declare the area a world heritage site, but as Windsor goes, it’s quite nice and those cheap awful commercial joints out on Walker Road near the Silver City could take some style cues from this area on how to maintain a level of human scale even when catering to a city where the car is king. The Riverside Plaza, just East of Lauzon, fits in with this near utopic vision. Despite the massive parking lot, I have a soft spot for this place. Though by the time I was born my parents had moved the family out to the Tecumseh suburbs, my mom maintained an account at the Scotiabank in the plaza, so we had reason to go there. While there we’d often go visit the pet shop located in the corner. We once took home a dog named Sandy sometime around 1977, but we had to return her the next day at the behest of

by Shawn Micallef

Riverside Plaza Marquee photo: Christine Arkell and Chris Rusnak

Windsor sits as close as possible to the finest example of modernism gone wrong, yet maintains a safe distance from it, letting us peer into the heart of darkness at our leisure.

my father. In the mid 1980s the Maltese Club of Windsor was housed in one of the plaza’s units as well. I didn’t go there much, but it was one of those smokey little ethnic pockets that mean a great deal to a particular community but are so often located in nowhere locations like strip malls. I liked going into the IGA that was there too. It had this weird wall near the entrance made out of boulders. Maybe it was fake, I don’t know – today I would say something like blahblah-inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s use of natural rock-blah-blah, but I just thought it was really neat then. It was. The builders were at least trying. That counts. Today it has a big sign outside that says “Liquidation Centre”. At some point I’ve selectively forgot about the banal times, the rainy days, the complaints or the waiting in lines. Everyday I remember as being brilliantly sunny, perpetually August, me wearing shorts and happy to be on a trip into the City. Windsor was more bustling, exotic and jammed together than Tecumseh, and that’s also what counted. During the 1990s I’d ride my bike from Tecumseh into Windsor, making my way along the gravel path that ran beside the CN Tracks to the Ganatchio Trail (it’s gone now, part of the Forest Glade style development going in


between the lake and Tecumseh Road). I’d ride up and down the streets adjacent to the Madrid, through the parking lot of the plaza, along the footpaths carved out of the empty lots, and West along Wyandotte towards the city center. I’d wonder who lives in these places now? Do the new couples take the same benign happy pictures my parents did? Do they look confidently into the future too? I try and reconcile the Windsor of today with my secret one, the one that I suspect exists only in my head, where the dads go off each morning to Hiram Walker & Sons and work for a company where everybody is treated like family, where moms take their kids back to visit the girls at the Windsor Utilities, the ones who didn’t quit to have children. Do they eat pizza at the Riverside Tavern every Saturday night? Do they drive to Point Pelee in the summer with relatives from Malta? Yearly trips to Boblo for the company picnic? These images are often at odds with what was going on in the world, or even next door. My father has often recalled standing on the Hiram Walker grounds in July of 1967 looking over at Detroit as the city burned and the National Guard tanks rolled down Jefferson during the riots. Windsor sits as close as possible to the finest example of modernism gone wrong, yet maintains a safe distance from it, letting us peer into the heart of darkness at our leisure. It’s a good perspective to have, perhaps one of the most

The Madrid Apartments, 2005. photo: Christine Arkell and Chris Rusnak

valuable commodities Windsor manufactures. As long as Windsor maintains this sense of order, the one I see when I drive along Wyandotte, the city will be alright.

Shawn Micallef runs the web- and blogsite Toronto Psychogeography Society, which can be viewed at

Regal Road Public School
When I come home in the morning from my girlfriend’s place at King and Dufferin, I almost always take the 29 Dufferin bus north, boarding at the start of the line just outside the Dufferin Gates. At it creeps its way north, the bus collects a rainbow of people, a petri dish of Toronto. When I go through the intersection of Dufferin and Davenport I never fail to remind myself that I must come back to that corner on foot. I had noticed once, looking back over my shoulder as we chugged up the hill towards St. Clair, that the schoolyard sitting atop the hill near the

by Matt Blackett

Ontario’s predacessor, and it was very dramitic and distinct as I looked east, then west. I could see the wind turbine (whom I’ve named Windalene) spinning furiously. It always makes me feel good to see that graceful thing in motion. It’s the token gift from the City to the enviro-heads, I suppose. I was able to see the Molson sign near the foot of Bathurst that faces onto the Gardiner Expressway. The KFC bucket, just a little east of the Dufferin Gates, was a small red dot but since I had been up close to it earlier in the day I was able to easily identify it. I have a friend who lives 300 feet away from the bucket in this great place in Liberty Village. He said to me today that every time he has a party someone always suggests going over to the thing, seeing if they can climb it, and maybe smash the lights that illuminate the monstrosity. But there’s a fence around the base, and you have to have a ladder to reach the spot where you’d start the horrifying climb to the top. “Maybe you should just try and burn it down,” I offered. Some kids walking along Davenport saw me sitting up on the hill and shouted up to me. “Whatcha doing up there, buddy?” a guy yelled. “Getting high,” I replied. He scremed “Whew hoooo!” and with both hands, gave me a Hang-10 or the Devil’s sign. I was discovered, so I slipped out the back of the schoolyard -- back to my house and piles of work.
Matt Blackett is creative director at Spacing, a Toronto-based magazine examining the urban landscape.

intersection had one of the best views of the downtown core. I’m a sucker for views of the big buildings and skyline, having lived in a high-rise at Bathurst and St. Clair and worked on the 27th floor looking south at College and Yonge. The northeast corner of Dufferin and Davenport is occupied by Regal Road Public School. A pathway leads up to the playground, but it has been fenced off in a very casual manner -- I stepped over the wooden railing and strolled up. With every couple of steps the facades of the old houses and shops facing onto Davenport gave way to the glowing skyscrapers. When I reached the top, I again had to climb over a small wooden fence. I found a spot under a tree - from where I was sitting I could see as far north and east as Yonge and Bloor and as south/west as Etobicoke and the mouth of the Humber. The lip of land I was sitting on was the former shoreline of Lake Iroquois, Lake

Regal Road Public School


From space-structured residents to spacestructuring residents
by Ulrich Donitz
It is a sunny summer afternoon. The court of a highrise building is quiet. Some children are hanging around. Others are passing through, obviously watching out for something to happen. A small group of adults are sitting in a corner as they would every afternoon, waiting for something to happen, for a job, waiting for a miracle, waiting for a change in their lives. They were waiting as they did every afternoon. However, this afternoon was going to be different. Two strangers appeared carrying luggage. They had never been here before. What was going to happen? The two sit down in another corner of the court and start to unpack their luggage. Within a few moments an accordion and a clarinet fill in the court with music and the two musicians attract the attention of the children. Gathering together the small listeners start asking questions and suggesting their favourites for the next song to play. They start singing along. The scenery of the court seemed to have changed from being silent, boring and depressive to music, excitement and action. Finally two young girls fetch their flutes and start giving a concert of their own. The court changes into a stage of the performing artists. Research into neighbourhood development concluded that some residents are structured by space: they have time in abundance, they are present in public space, they do not need to make dates to meet their friends because they know the places nearby where they would be (examples: children, youth), but: they rarely gain influence on spacestructuring processes of urban planning. They are structured, shaped by the environment they grow up and live in. Other residents and professionals are structured by time: they are rarely present in the streets because their car takes them from one date to another, often they do not even know the names of their neighbours. Planning professionals and forums of negotiation mostly are structured by time. They do not get visible in public space but take place inside public buildings behind doors, which exclude space-structured residents from forums of consultation and decision-making. Space-structured residents, however, have lots of ideas on what their urban environment should look like. Due to their presence in the streets, they have a detailed knowledge on what takes place. However, they do not come to notice planning decisions unless they get visible in the places where they themselves are present. Yet normally such decisions are taken years before they get visible in their spatial consequences. Once space-structured residents get to know about what is happening, it is too late to take influence. The potential space-structured residents have to contribute to spatial development does not get visible. Reflecting upon the Camp for Oppositional Architecture, upon the results of neighbourhood governance research and upon our experience as street musicians made us start a series of urban interventions in the Ruhr area throughout the summer 2004. The idea was to create access to urban development for space-structured residents. The approach was not to take residents into timestructured long-term processes of negotiation on urban development, but to start structuring space through action interpreting physical structures as a stage with the potential for a wide range of actions. However simple and temporary the above experiment seems to be, it reveals the power residents can have to reinterpret their environment. It is obvious that this magic power normally does not become visible. And even our example was a temporary experience of one afternoon. As the Camp for Oppositional Architecture could show, a considerable number of professionals deal with interventions in urban contexts around the world.

Since 1996 Freelancer at the „Planungsbüro Stadt-Kinder“ (planning partipation consultant) developing new concepts to participation of youth in processes of urban development, combining traditional methods of planning and methods like theatre pedagogy and outward bound to come to new ways of both designing urban spaces and intervening into planning processes at urban and regional levels. Since 2001 Part-time employee within the Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Building and Construction of the Federal State of North RhineWestphalia. Since 2003 Starting to link street music and street action to processes of urban planning, taking music into the streets at uncommon times and places with the ensemble “Die Murmeln” (together with Micha Fedrowitz/accordion). First tour of urban music with the ensemble in 2004. 2005 Taking the new approach to the British Isles, starting as a street musician in Cardiff

Urban Car Camping:
The move towards mobile homes in LA
The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association estimates that there are over 7.2 million RVs currently on the road, and about 1 million of these are occupied by full time RVers, meaning drivers without a permanent address. This phenomena underscores a cultural shift away from permanence to a more nomadic lifestyle dependent on a flexible infrastructure of cellular phones and satellite Internet, as well as a growing network of RV parks catering to a mobile populace. The full time RVer is not limited to the stereotypical senior citizen, it is a diverse group of drivers, many employed in normal jobs but preferring the independence, flexibility of a mobile residency. The effect of this new mobile class is now being felt in the California cities of Venice, Santa Monica, and West Los Angeles, which have become popular magnets for campers seeking the comforts of coastal living. Boasting some of the most expensive real estate in the United States, these coastal cities have priced out most people from purchasing property in the vicinity of the bleach. However, living within blocks of the beach is still a possibility for the average person with an RV. This economic dichotomy has made Los Angeles one of the first cities to have to

by Ted Kane

grapple with the desire of some of its residents to live on the streets full time, in their automobiles. Electric Avenue in Venice is one such street, with free parking available amongst the expensive new artist lofts; it is frequently occupied by up to half a dozen RVs each night. The result of the influx has pitted the permanent Coastal residents, worried about the possible effect on property value and limited parking, against the mobile residents occupying the public space of the street. Cities have begun to clamp down on the campers, as Santa Monica recently did by implementing neighborhood-parking districts, making it illegal for non-residents to park in residential neighborhoods, and other laws requiring that cars not be parked in one location for more than 24 hours, all designed to crackdown on car camping. These new laws are just the beginning of a frightening trend towards limiting the basic freedoms we have historically associated with the street, and as a larger segment of society will begins living exclusively on the streets, we will be facing new challenges of how to define the city outside the current real estate value driven system.


Review of the Camp for Oppositional Architecture,
Berlin, Germany
by Alob Switt
The Camp for Oppositional Architecture took place June 25-27th, 2004 in Berlin, Germany and PIPS was glad to be in attendence. The participants were from all over and a wide range of projects were presented. Some quick introductions of pariticipants and goals of the CFOA also took place the first night. Group work sessions were a large part of the camp and PIPS was in the public intervention group. Some serious brainstorming and lots of presentations later we got to know some of the other participants a little better. Over the whole weekend, there was a lot of interesting proposals for projects that hoped to expand the realm of the possible in life, architecture, and art. . Background of Camp An Architektur is a quarterly publication that engages the social and political aspects of architecture and space. In an attempt to create an international platform for planners, architects, and artists working in areas of social engagement and intervention in the public sphere, An Architektur hosted the Camp for Oppositional Architecture in Berlin from June 25-27th. Hosted at an old factory, the event was an experiment in individual and collective modes of communication and living. A truly international conference, there were participants from over sixteen countries with a wide range of backgrounds. Most of the participants stayed at the camp throughout the conference, with large group meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Two of the main presentations were given by Brian Bell, an original participant in the Rural Studio program started by the late Samuel Mockbee, and Peter Marcuse, a historian with an in depth knowledge of the planning history of New York City. Both presentations were engaging and thought provoking, the room packed to the limit with participants and Berliners. The group sessions were short but informative, a little more time and some more ideas could have been talked about and debated. On the positive side there were lots of great ideas and projects coming from all different angles and strategies. Participants The group Exyzt, from Paris presented a video documenting their occupation of a lost space in the middle of the city. Using scaffolding, large tents, and platforms they made a temporary structure in which they lived for a month. Within this time they created different activities every few days: film screenings, potlucks, transformation of space, additions, subtractions, etc. From Copenhagen, N55’s Rikke Luther presented upcoming

work in which trash is recycled into housing materials. Casagrande Laboratory and the Informal University in Foundation were represented in the camp as well. From Berlin, two groups working together on a future project called Los Topos were present and had an impact on the public intervention group. Club Real and PeanutzArchitekten contributed to the ideas discussed and PIPS is very interested in the “projected” old West town of Los Topos. We all had fun using the crates as toys when we decided to put our theory into action and PIPS hopes to see these guys around... From the states the Institute for Advanced Architecure and Polar Inertia were both present. Polar Inertia is a Journal of Nomadic and Popular Culture on the web that is worth a close look. Due to the short time not everyone could share ideas, but PIPS is sure that all of the participants had great projects and looks forward to the tentative call by the Glasgow Letters on Architecture + Space for another conference sometime next year in Scotland...

Mapping Empire (Part I):
To get home I drive down I-95 and exit at New Haven, barely escaping multiple car pile ups and certain death, to drive along the Hudson River and the buggy, muggy, but oh-so-green Appalachians. At the exit formerly known as 5, I catch I-90 with a glimpse of Lake Erie and head southwest towards Cleveland. A nice but short breakfast with a friend in the suburbs and it’s south to I-80. Trucks, bill boards, adult mega-wega-ya-hoo-warehouses, Linda Rondstadt, pee stop, Linda louder for a singa-long… chasing the sun down a long highway to Nebraska. God, I love how the day gets longer going west! Corn stalks flag me down against the pomegranate sky and direct me to a camp ground on the Colorado border. You can’t drive across the High Plains in the dark because then you miss seeing Pike’s Peak and Long’s Peak emerge from the grains and behind the approaching city. “We’re almost ho-ome!” I sing to the boxes and bags and candy wrappers, driving around the stinky welcome of Denver, the hogbacks stretched out like the guard dogs of the Rockies. Now it’s Pure Prairie League and the Nitty Gritty blasting over the speakers as the moisture and oxygen suck from the air, leaving room to breath. Memories scream by in flashes of schools, homes, creeks, and the ever intruding highway. But I’m home. Taking the long exit ramp, climbing the hill, slowly passing the liquor store, the church, slower, the Dairy King (yes, this is the King of Dairy), and finally, like a drink of mountain water, my wheels turn onto the gravel and up Daley Street to Sunny Avenue. On the corner is my parents’ house, stark logs bake in the hard afternoon sun but the cool white interior welcomes the western breeze from the open

Going Home by Way of Providence
by Molly Wheelock
windows. HOME, Home, home… But not tonight. Tonight I am in Providence, another place to love once I leave it. Tonight the warmth of the computer and bright screen beam up at my tired eyes while my truck sits in the drive way, covered in heavy New England snow (and out of gas, to boot!). Home: EM-P-I-R-E, tab, C-O, return… stares back at me in my choice of bright green topography map or grey scale aerial photograph. New layers of meaning emerge and Empire becomes something different to me: big fat lines intersected by the smaller loopy and curvy ones; little houses I squash with my scribe; tiny hiker feet following the topo lines; trailer park popsicles. Little Empires all along my wall wait for the spring and the caress of the road to take them home to the Big Mama Empire (really more of a cute little mamasita). I wait, too, tracing my hikes, poking the corner next to the gas station, wondering what my mamasita is doing down there in that tiny house… Being home, I guess.

Mapping Empire is a series of exercises in the representation of my home town - based on memory, speculation, and the question of “is vernacular alive (or dead)”.


Shopdropping :: Three Case Studies
by Marisa Jahn
Shopdropping, also known as reverse shoplifting, is a tactic that relies on the insertion of art into public places of commerce. You’ve probably heard of a few examples: the Barbie Liberation Organization, who swapped voiceboxes of 300 Barbies and G.I. Joes, groups such as Minerva Cuerva’s Mejor Vida Corporation who produce barcode stickers that when scanned ring up cheap items (intended to be placed onto more expensive items), various artists and activists ‘gifting’ conglomerate stores with their own personal items, etc.. I’m guessing that alongside and simultaneous with the rise of consumer culture is a parallel and unsung history of shopdropping. In its contemporary incarnation, shopdropping ranges from traditional commodity critique to complex strategies that detourne situations, present alternatives to normative systems of exchange, and graft together alternate economic regimes. The three case studies below explore these different trajectories within the art of shopdropping. A prevalent example of shopdropping is the introduction of ‘alien’ or extrinsic items into the language or space of commerce. In 2000, Packard Jennings fabricated an action-figure doll bearing resemblance to the 20th century fascist leader Benito Mussolini, colloquially referred to as ‘Il Duce.’ The Mussolini action figure was inserted into Wal-Mart and repurchased by the artist while a spycam video-documented the ensuing comical conundrum (confused workers assigning a value to the item, the manual entry of the word ‘Mussolini’ onto the receipt, etc.). The success of Jenning’s project lies in its ability to elbow its way through the apparatus of mainstream capitalism, forcing the store recognize and come to terms with his item’s otherness, its alterity. While Jennings’ project does not bear any returned and presumably sold for the original’s price of $9.94. With an artist’s signature conspicuously absent, we are left to assume Sheehan’s craftwork was sold to unwitting shoppers, a silent comparison between handmade and mass-produced labor. Sheehan’s project then becomes more elaborate: the original Wal-Mart shirt was then displayed in a gallery setting and given a value commensurate with commercial art prices. Sheehan describes this displacement of objects in different economic registers as “a black hole of value that shifts the economic burden [of her labor] onto those who can afford it. . .” In other words, in asking the art audience to absorb the costs of her materials and labor, the artist asks the collector to vicariously partake in the one-way spiritual intimacy with the imagined shopper wearing her hand-made underwear. Sheehan also asks the collector to participate in an act of faith— faith that the mass-produced Wal-Mart version displayed in the gallery is of value because of its transcendental relationship with the artist-made version. By asking the collector to suspend his/ her traditional interest in ‘investing’ in the artist’s craft, Sheehan’s project ultimately obviates the concern over authenticity and presents the simulacrum as a more relevant discourse. While Sheehan’s nameless and faceless handcrafted objects are recirculated into the economy without the shopper’s awareness of this invisible labor, other projects foreground the role of labor involved in commodity production and consumption. Conrad Bakker’s consummately deadpan Untitled Projects is a series of wooden objects carved and painted to resemble functioning technology (radar detectors, binoculars, lighters, flashlights). The objects bear traces of their

By emphasizing the relationships built between shopper and artist, Bakker presents an alternate economic model: a hybrid between a gift economy and commodity-based culture.


significant economic consequence (other than the amount that Jennings contributed to WalMart for the purchase of his action figure.), other projects incorporate the economic transaction into the piece itself. In a series of work entitled Shopdropping (2003), Zoe Sheehan bought a woman’s blouse from a Wal-Mart located in Berlin, Vermont, and proceeded to duplicate the item by hand. Sheehan copied its pattern, using matching fabric, thread, and embellishments (such as lace, elastic, ribbon, embroidery, and fabric paint) to make as faithful a reproduction as possible. After re-attaching the original tags, including the price tag, the simulacrum was then

production: visible chisel marks, brush strokes from the oil paint, and imperfections indicate the obejcts’ inability to function as anything other than sculptures. Bakker then assigned the sculptures an ISBN number and marketed them through a glossy mail-order catalogue at prices comparable to the products they resemble. Shoppers calling the catalogue’s 1-800 number found themselves in intimate conversation with the artist, who took orders, shipped items, and produced more on demand, a process which often took considerable time. Bakker describes his construction of an intentionally inefficient system when compared to the hallmark efficiency

of capitalism: “I was interested in slowing down and making strange the networked transactions (the economic space) so that as the objects moved along the path from producer to consumer, they generated a specific set of intentions (spaces) where the process could

Above and left: Zoe Sheehan’s painstaking Wal-Mart reproductions blur economic boundries

Below: Packard Jenning’s Mussolini action figures skew the typical commercial interaction by using extreme imagery and content

be critically examined.” By emphasizing the relationships built between shopper and artist, Bakker presents an alternate economic model—a hybrid between a gift economy and commodity-based culture. Jennings, Sheehan, and Bakker thus present three different models for the relationship between the art object and economic regimes. While parodying the histrionic language of action figures, Il Duce Action Figure constructs its own code, then inserted into the economy to confront the apparatus of hegemonic capitalism with its alterity. In Sheehan’s Shopdopping, a poetic silence is constructed from the secret we share as an informed audience; asked to pay the price of market-rate legitimated art, we (the art audience) are then asked to assume the economic burden of this privilege/secret. While Sheehan’s work works within (and ultimately reifies) the disparity between two different cultural registers (Wal-Mart shoppers

vs. art audience), Bakker’s project presents an alternate economic model based on the valorization and recognition of labor.

From March 11-April 10, 2005, Packard Jennings’ work will be featured in an exhibition entitled Shopdropping: Experiments in the Aisle curated by Pond, a non-profit art organization dedicated to experimental public art. Co-founded by artist, writer, educator, and curator Marisa Jahn, Pond is currently engaged with various projects including Invisible 5, an experimental audio tour of the hidden toxic landscape along California’s I-5 highway (by artists Amy Balkin, Kim Stringfellow, Tim Halbur, Greenaction, and Pond); OneTrees, an ongoing city-wide project originated by Natalie Jeremijenko involving the planting of pairs of genetically identical trees throughout the Bay Area’s diverse microclimates; and more. Visit Pond at or

Shopdrop Marketing:
Ad jamming at the local corner store
Shopdropping is an ongoing project in which the packaging of canned goods are altered and then “shopdropped” back onto grocery store shelves. The original packaging is replaced with labels created using photographs from RELAPSED.NET. The “shopdropped” works act as a guerrilla ad campaign for the site, as well a series of art objects that people can purchase from the grocery store . Because the barcodes and price tags are left intact purchasing the cans at their original price is actually quite easy. In one instance an employee even restocked the cans to a new aisle based on the barcode. Shopdropping strives to take back a share of the visual space we encounter on a daily basis. Similar to the way street art stakes a claim to public space for self expression, shopdropping subverts commercial space and activities for artistic use.
RELAPSED.NET is an ongoing new media project investigating the potential of the website as fine arts object. RELAPSED.NET incorporates photography,, and tactical media projects including Shopdropping.

a report from

In a sea of mediocrity, even small items can make a big statement.


The Costly Evolution of a Large Beast:
A Look at Burning Man
by J. Gabriel Lloyd
Government for use of the barren land. --Three divisions of law enforcement: State, Local and County --Sanitation for the porta-potties --Electricity at the site --Water trucks to keep the dust down Each of these listed could potentially cost $1,000,000 or more, and then you still have underlying costs. Popular Consensus Walking through the event and talking to people about general operation of the event and what they felt about it, the conversation always came back to the revenue. An unknown person on one of my tapes expressed, “I have a tough time knowing that this event pulls in somewhere between 6 and 8 million dollars of revenue and Larry having all these lofty moral goals, but at the same time the guy is obviously pocketing some fucking doe.” After explaining what I had heard regarding costs for the event, however, this individual and others felt a little more comfortable about the costs. My friend Jeff from camp (not Jeff with the business background, but Jeff from Huntington Beach) adds, “[Larry is] not cashing in off this; he’s having a good old time… he’s a good going guy…He’s looking at the benefits of…[the money] going towards everybody, not just himself.” Larry does make a little money off the event, but he oversees the entire event. Jeff added, “He comes out a head, but he’s not sitting out there milking it; he’s not doing that MTV shit…he’s a good guy.” Larry is also very aware of the ramifications of having a corporate sponsor for the event. Corporations are not well loved at Burning Man, for many people go to the event to get away from them. I met a whole camp of computer engineers that work for Google who come every year to just relax and not be a part of that doldrum. The temptations for having corporate sponsors for the event, if you need money, are huge, however. If Budweiser were to sponsor the event, the organizers would most assuredly have enough revenue to cover all the operation costs at their current rate. Larry is constantly asked to consider sponsorship and he always adamantly says no. “I think [not having corporate sponsors is why] people don’t really have a problem paying $200 a ticket,” another unidentified participant interjected, “because, I mean, you know there is no corporate sponsor out there.” Introducing the corporate sponsorship would bring in a new crowd, but also significantly change the dynamic of the event. Jeff finished the thought by saying, “[Larry is] basically doing this [event] so that we all have a good time. That’s what it comes down to. Make sure we’re all fucking cool. Make sure everything is clean and we’re having a good old time.” Perspective from the Top In an interview with the social architect of the space, Andie Grace, we discussed the strong construct of a community oriented for these good times. Andie Grace first came to Burning Man in 1997 camping in the outer regions of walk in camp. “It never occurred to me to think there was an infrastructure,” she reminisced. Through friends, she became involved part time with the media teams and eventually became a full-time staff member by 2000. As her responsibilities grew, she has become more aware of “the philosophy and ethos” of Burning Man and spreads this knowledge to the main event and regionals. In our conversation, I asked her if she thought the major moral principals that drive Burning Man were being met. “Well, it’s at least the intent,” she responded. She continued to explain that this year (2004) has been the first year that she has not been able to walk around and see events and themed areas for herself. Because of this, she is not able to see how her social architectural decisions, “like banning dogs or emphasizing children are welcome at the event” effect the event. In previous years, she has been able to walk around and be more of a participant where she gets “to see what people all over the world think about it and the different sides of the argument. It keeps us real.” How did Andie become so busy? At the end of the week, my friend, Candice, who was then, I think the media team was five or seven people… [I told her], ‘You’ve got CNN running around here and you Burning Man is now an event that most participants feel is a huge enterprise, easily filling the pockets of the creators allowing them luxury and ease of living. A life of luxury is not a reality for the creators of the event. Cynicism for the creators reared its timid head this year (2004) with mock flyers in every single porta-potty telling of a fiesta BBQ dinner for all. Word got around fast, and the 2pm BBQ time was met with a dry erase board reading, “No BBQ today! The flyers are a hoax!” Why would participants that thrive upon this week hold contempt for the creators? It all comes back to money. Money is exchanged in order to enter Black Rock City. Larry Harvey considers it a “tax”. Participants consider it an expensive ticket. I bought early this year and my tax was a few dollars north of two hundred. Participants are not stupid people, and with a little math their algebra takes them to formulas such as this: Each participant pays around $200/person. There are 35,000 participants. Multiply $200 by 35,000 to see how much money is brought into the pockets of the creators. Answer: Roughly $7,000,000. It is a safe bet to estimate that 85% or more of the Burning Man population will not earn this amount of money each year in their lifetime. To them, this is a large chunk of change that can take them to places known as Tahiti or Morocco every day of the year for the rest of their lives. Reality check: Burning Man is a business. Campmate Jeff from San Francisco assists small start up businesses as his living. My first night at camp I was expressing my cynicism for the tax, while Jeff was talking about the possibilities of growing the event for the sustainability of Burning Man. The growth of the event was “for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was they probably needed to make more money if they were going to live off of it, and I’m not talking about getting rich, I’m just talking about paying salaries.” “Yeah, I’m sure it does at this point,” I interjected. “No,” Jeff replied, “I don’t think it does.” I protested that $200 a pop for 30,000 people would give you at least $6,000,000. “$6,000,000, that’s your whole budget for the year. That’s peanuts…[start-up companies] burn a million dollars a month, easy,” Jeff said. My thoughts at this point were how companies are entities that function at full throttle year round. Burning Man does not function at full throttle year round. At best it is only at its peak for three months of the year including set up and take down. “[The companies I advise] are small… they have, like, 30 people, 40 people…they’re burning $2,000,000 a month. [Burning Man] has way more than 30 people… and when this thing is going they have hundreds of people. “This year the DPW guys, the guys that do the heavy lifting…are working for food….Nobody is getting rich off [Burning Man].” Not only are there 30 or more full time employees to pay, but a multitude of other expenses: --A $1,000,000 land use fee imposed by the US


have no media operation…’ So, they set up a little media operation [in 1996] and in 97, it was really crazy. A Wired Magazine piece had happened a year before [and other high end press] to the point that our numbers doubled. And so, the media team must have hit “Zainsville” because Candice came home on Friday night…came home, flopped down on the couch with her voice [very dry and stressed] and she had this far away stare and she was just all worked out and I just went, “Oh…I want to do that! Sign me up!” So the next day I went down and volunteered at the media team and just became more and more involved over time. Once Burning Man began to have mass media attention, Burning Man doubled in size in one year. This size increase directly affected the needs for the city, such as sanitation and law enforcement, which cause the ticket price to rise. Although Burning Man does not embraces corporate sponsorship, they do not shy away from publicity through corporate news entities. Organizers want the event to grow so that as many people as possible can experience the gift economy and friendly nature of the city. Regionals have been developed with the help of Andie to facilitate this for people that cannot make it to Black Rock City. With this growth, responsibility grows which makes the costs grow; yet they do not see this as a hindrance towards realizing and embracing the underlying philosophies of the event by all. Liabilities Liabilities are an issue for the organizers of the event. A few thought Burning Man could be held responsible for heinous acts or events in the court of law, even though the event says it is free of all liability. Last year (2003), a girl fell off an art car and was crushed by it. In the same year, a pilot forgot to put down his landing gear and crashed his airplane at the Black Rock Airport and another plane that just outright tumbled on the landing strip. Disasters like this at the event are serious concerns for the organizers and they have to be taken into account when putting everything together. Because of the general atmosphere, however, the blaming for accidents seems to be kept in check. The attitude of my interviews prevailed through out the week of saying that if you come out to the desert and you are stupid, its your own damn fault, and everyone is going

to hold you responsible for what happened to you. But when accidents become disasters, “understood” rules can give way to the written documents that hold the event down and people responsible. A sad evolution of a large beast. There are Girls Gone Wild aspects that the organizers have to contend with, too. Nudity is accepted and, for the most part, the norm of Burning Man. When you video tape girls dancing around and then broadcast it on your website, the context changes. Three years ago all video cameras (and digital still cameras that have video capability) began to have to be registered at Media Mecca. The intent is to know exactly who has the capability and if something pops up online or worse, on DVD, the organizers can search through the registrations of equipment and hold the responsible party liable. How that exactly works, is up for speculation. The registration process basically says that you have to tell the event organizers what you do with your published work. Whatever is gained in commission for publication, 10% is to go back to Burning Man. Because the event has a year-round full-time staff, it is possible for them to check the internet for publications of Burning Man related articles, pictures and video. If you have not told them about what you have done or made from your work, they can come after you, which is not worth the trouble for the auteur. It makes much more sense to pay $100 than $1000 in fines or hassle charges from the event. Problems with Individual Costs Still, there are many costs that are incurred to each participant. Myself, I had food and water costs, camping equipment and liquor expenses that I would not have normally encountered. Those that put on elaborate theme camps or even organized camps the costs must be huge. Other aspects, such as the gift economy, cannot function beyond the week of the event. It is tragic that participants of this event feel so much initial animosity because of the initial money exchanged. Ideally, no one would be charged, but this is an event that takes place on government land and therefore has to abide by the measures imposed. It is also an event with a large population that needs certain comforts, such as porta potties. And, now that the event is a true slice of life, law enforcement needs to be in attendance because of the small percentage of criminals that appear.

Nothing Else Like It Burning Man is the evolution of a beast. This event evolves with time. Once a beach party with eleven friends, it has evolved into a city of 35,000 that understands it’s business agenda, but also understands how it was founded and it tries to accept both. There is only so much the event organizers can do when they invite anyone and everyone to come out to the desert to do what ever they want. However, the predominant attitude at Burning Man is that you can walk down a street at any time in any section and feel safe. Most of the crime that occurs is innocent, consisting mainly of people too “confused” about which bike is which and wander off with the wrong one. Larry Harvey started this event because he and his friends wanted to find a time and place to do what ever they wanted to do. The week was for doing drugs or shooting a gun because they never did those things in normally. Now there are no guns or dogs, but it is still a place where any one and everyone can come to be naked or dress however they want to and not be judged from it. In fact, you have a better chance not being judged if you do have a costume. The money discussions will continue to be an issue as long as the event grows. It seems people always need something to complain about, but its good to know Larry Harvey and the other organizers are not about to budge with corporate sponsors or other means of “selling out”. The amount of chaos the organizers have to contend with is enormous so to have an event happen every year of this scale that basically goes off without a hitch is amazing. Whenever you think curating a show is tough, think about this and you might feel a little better. With every successful year of Burning Man, greater numbers of people can come together and, for a while, shed some of the monetary habits for the sake of building better communities. Paying a tax to live this way so I can learn the lessons a gift economy can teach me is worth every cent.
Gabriel is involved with Brooklyn-based Glowlab and Providence-based PIPS in exploring the rift between art culture and general popular culture. Gabriel’s essays often pursue insights upon this rift while his performances in the streets engage directly study social constructs regarding these inquiries. Although he works with these East Coast groups, he is strongly interested in west coast culture and geography.


Mapping Memory:
Documenting Personal Space
by Lori Napoleon
Module I: Space Ships Each of us is the capsule commander of our own space ship, navigating our surroundings with selective, filtered vision. To ascribe equal attention to all of the occurrences happening at any given moment would be such a sensory overload that even simple tasks would prove unbearable. If all of the available information in the world can be considered raw data, then the process of mentally carving out our own personal space amongst the chaos is the filtering of this data to suit our interests and priorities. Often many of us use the phrase “on my wavelength” to describe someone else who sees things in a similar light. This simply means that another person has made similar personal connections and selected similar elements from the endless supply of information: finding someone else whose eyes become moist over kindred things. Consequently, any means of communication from one person to the next, from conversation to visual art to writing, is an extension of one’s mental ordering of the whirlwind of information. For the last five years, I have collected a very particular form of communication: the handdrawn map. To me, maps are a blueprint of one’s perception of space because, just like in reality, we have an onslaught of data that we could include on our maps. The end result displays the things we picked out as important, and the spaces that we left blank. Every single hand-drawn map given to me has evolved into an archive of over a hundred delicate portrayals of personal space, a hundred stories, a hundred tiny explanations which together form what I call my Mapsproject: a project that in turn, helps me organise my own life. What this project has taught me is that EVERYONE contains a hidden registry/stash of maps carved inside one’s memory banks, some commonly in use (daily commute; current street) and some discretely tucked away (those grueling years of working at Enterprise Rent-A-Car; childhood street). A map is a simplification of space; a mental map is testament to the way we orient ourselves to that space. Has anyone actually seen their town or city in the way we portray it on a map? Most of us have not languidly hovered above our town, so the answer would be typically not - yet, this is a reality that we all envision. The aerial view in which we depict our space is usually based on a composite of various small fragments of our environment that we “know” are there, but can’t see or experience all at once the way we can on a map. This is probably the reason why quite a number of maps in my collection include a self-conscious note (“Not drawn to scale,” “Bad map,” etc.) In reference to the inaccuracies in scale and proportion of space. In response to these small insecurities as expressed by my dear map makers, I would have to say that they are being entirely too hard on themselves. Maps have an innate quality for being inaccurate; its practically unavoidable. The common Mercator projection that looms in the consciousness of us Westerners ever since Ms. Sweitzer’s second grade geography class still would have many of us believing that Greenland and Canada are much, much larger than they actually are, since we weren’t taught about the distortions that occur the farther one moves from the equator. And if a city map was completely accurate, with every single detail marked and titled, it would not only be incredibly difficult to read, but it would be entirely pointless; it would be the real place. If we approach the map for what it actually is: a subjective simplification of space created for a specific purpose, then we could begin to see that it, like any other object or form of communication, contains physical clues that point to the goals, knowledge and perspective of its creator(s). Within any given hour on the internet I can find multidimensional displays of atmospheric circulation patterns, subway/public transit maps of any city, wine producing areas of the world and a guide to how many places one can view a Van Gogh painting. In this period of information and media, one could assume nearly everything has been charted, documented, simulated, entitled. What I find so fascinating about the personal maps created by random people that I meet in my life is that in spite of all easily accessible guidelines and navigational aids, there are entire parallel worlds in existence that are off the map; worlds that are vast and colored in detail, and as many versions as there are minds of the people who house them. Module II: X Marks The Spot X-es, arrows, boxes and squiggly lines: in symbols how do us roving cartographers depict our unique knowledge of the easiest route to the closest dunkin’ donuts, to the movie theatre for those two British tourists we met, to the impossible-to-find highway entrance ramps that often evade Yours Truly ? I decided to take a closer look at the icons that came up on the delicate surfaces of every napkin, matchbook, and scrap paper canvas of my maps. I wondered, what symbols do we use to map out our personal landmarks? How are they similar or different from conventional landmarks that we see in standard maps and even road signs, and how do we map ourselves in relation to them? There are certain conventional ways in which we are swayed to orient ourselves, the most common being North as depicted going “up” on the page, with East to the right, and so on. This northern-priority tendency is commonly believed to tie into the compass which pulls toward magnetic North, and reinforced by standard projections which place the Northern Hemisphere of the world as the central focus (an attribute which many believe is a bias and instigator of a superiority complex). This tendency is so strong that nearly all of my maps conform to it. One of the most common written icons in my collection is a variation of a compass rose, with an arrow for North pointing up. There were, however, a few interesting anomalies – my favorites being from Portland, Oregon, created to guide me from the house I was staying at to a camp I volunteered at, Forest Park (“wow!”), downtown, and other places of interest. People I’ve met from Portland have a very ‘special’ way of orienting themselves, which is reflected in both maps that I’ve received from there. While taking for granted that the top


Public vs. Private
Each of us is the capsule commander of our own space ship, navigating our surroundings with selective, filtered vision.

of the page meant “North,” my first map has Southeast in the top right corner. Portlanders divide their city into quadrants, with the Willamette River, which runs North to South as the division between East and West, and a centrally located main street (Burnside Ave.) to be the other divider. This is all fine and good, except that I didn’t realize that when they draw maps, they portray the river to run East to West, instead of the direction that it ‘actually’ runs. As a result, for a solid five days I believed I was staying at a friends house in Northwest Portland when really I was in the Southeast. Imagine my disorientation when the sheet was finally pulled from over my head. One person’s explanation involved something about the direction the river runs, and how it would be really nice if it ran East to West, so they just like to pretend it does. My second map was an even better example of this peculiar directional shift. It was drawn on a conventional, store-bought map, yet the author/interpreter has tilted it to the side so that West could be on top, in a mirror reversal of the first map. (Both had the river running E-W, but the first had East on top, and the second, West on top) This is why the printed words “downtown Portland” are shifted a quarter clockwise and the original printed ‘North’ arrow points to the right now. In comparison to older maps of ancient cities with organic, winding roads that follow natural landmarks, the ‘Portland orientation’ seems to gain some inspiration from the river, not JUST the standard man made grid imposed upon it. Even in my city of Chicago there are remnants of main thoroughfares which outdate the rigid, carefully numbered grid system. These throwbacks are the reason why there are “crooked” streets that veer, for example, northwest/southeast. Contrary to urban myth, they weren’t created to torture us with sixway intersections and the “hard left vs. soft left” dichotomy that still confuses newcomers. Anomaly streets like my neighborhood’s Milwaukee Avenue follow glacial patterns: elements of nature that became footpaths of Potowatamee Indians far before Chicago imposed its grid. However, as we moved from walking to horses to cars, our increase in speed led to less natural, more carefully calculated routes, affecting the way we experience space in many ways. Street layout changed, maps changed, even the standard height of street signs, starting at 10 feet, would eventually rise to 70 feet tall. A personal map will return to the concept of the original footpaths, showing shortcuts and alleyways that only personal experience dictates. Aside from the compass rose, many other familiar symbols came up a lot in my collection. Originally I predicted that X-es would be the dominant icon to “mark the spot” of personal landmarks, but they actually had heavy competition in the form of boxes, points, arrows, asterisks, stars, even the odd triangle. Many of these symbols aren’t only housed in maps, but exist out in the world as navigational aids as well. One of the most prominent navigational symbols both in the world and its simulation is the arrow. In standard road signs, from 1950’s neon-infused diners to newer backlit plastic motel signs, the arrow has undergone constant evolution. Motel signs in the early 1950’s included a rudder on the tail end of the arrow, followed by a more expressive wraparound design in the mid-50’s with a more stylized point and no rudder, to an even more abstract version which eliminates all but the arrowhead. As travel and speed increased, the roadside landscape become more and more cluttered

with visual instructions and navigational aids, until signs which started off as locationspecific, detailed and personal, eventually turned generic, functional and abstract. The standard white, rectangular backlit plastic sign with its modular, uppercase block letters was created to be a respite from the visual clutter of the older, ‘busier’ neon signs of the fifties: signs became less about personality and more about function. We drive past a hodgepodge of these sign designs every day, even if we aren’t mentally registering them as a physical history lesson of travel and navigation through space. While all of it flows into the “background,” these symbols do affect us, and are evident in my maps, which, after all, have been extracted from the map makers’ repertoire of symbols (conscious or not) which guides the pen to make all sorts of marks. Asterisks, sputniks, stars; these also show up prominently both in signs and my maps. Thatched railroad tracks and squiggly lines denoting rivers seem to play their own major part in common navigational guidelines, but some of these patterns also have to do with where I’ve travelled and acquired these maps. Only two of my maps contain mountains, but this would surely be different if I conducted

Maps of Portland, Oregon collection of Lori Napoleon

the same project from a home base in the West Coast as opposed to the Midwest. Here lies the quality of my collection as an extended portrait of my own personal space. I do feel it necessary to add, though, that in addition to the commonalities listed above, I’ve found equally as many completely unique and lovely small illustrations, some ambitious map makers even ditching 2-D and using perspective! Beside the points and boxes we have donut shops; a confused truck with a question mark over its head; rad girls on bikes; abandoned shrines; the list goes on and on. Module III: “If you cross the tracks you’ve gone too far!” I’ve noticed that my map collection can be divided into two large subcategories to describe their function: Category One could be called “If
(continued on pg. 26)


Tactics in the Superquadras of Brasília
“The space of the tactic is the space of the other.” –Michel de Certeau The urban landscape is a place where the inhabitants of a city mediate spatial boundaries and systems everyday. Particularly when it was designed with the intention of redefining public/private relationships. Consider Brasília, conceived on the drawing board almost 50 years ago by a small group of architects and planners in Brazil; a city that makes no bones about demonstrating its social agenda through strict design and regulation. Its designers, who were influenced by a particular strain of modernism touted by CIAM (Congrés Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne), founded the city on ideals of creating a new sociability that would benefit public over private interest. Using design strategies of standardization, uniform distribution of private space, and the use of pilotis (pillars) to lift private space (apartments) above the public space (the ground), Brasília would satisfy the needs of the collective interest by equally providing each individual with the basic necessities. Everyday Practice In everyday practice, the ways by which people intervene in urban spaces (transgress, modify, appropriate) become ways of mediating between ideology and individual desire. In The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel De Certeau recognizes everyday practices as operations that work within a system of constraints. His goal is “to locate the practices that are foreign to the “geometrical” or “geographical” space of visual, panoptic, or theoretical constructions.” With urban space, tactics find opportunity to adjust spatial structures and boundaries; by modifying urban space they mediate the dominant structure of the city. It was a fascination with the urban design of Brasília, which was unlike anything that I had known, as well as a curiosity in tactics of adapting urban space that took me to Brasília in the fall of 2003. I was interested in the details and anecdotes that comprise everyday practice and tactics in a super-planned city like Brasília. The research project focused on public-private boundaries in the superquadras (the residential sector) because they function as a type of litmus test of sociability, and I intended to make a connection between what I might find in Brasília and the larger theoretical framework behind the study. I was interested in the ways that individual desire is expressed spatially in an urban context, as well as how it might create behavior that is a remedy to the daily compromises that city-dwellers make while living among pre-determined public-private boundaries. Field Research The project had two separate phases. The first phase was the field research in Brasília, where I spent six months collecting data in the superquadras. The data collection employed multiple methods including observation, photography, mapping, interviewing, a questionnaire, and interventions that would test public/private boundaries. The second phase was the analysis and synthesis of the research findings. With the results, I developed intervention proposals that, if implemented, would actually test or amplify the findings of the field research. By intervening into the processes that I was witnessing in my field research, I could activate and test them. Tactics and Interventions In programming and organizing the city, there is a tendency among modernist designers to universalize the individual to a certain type and his desires to a number of basic necessities. The residents of contemporary Brasília, like in many other cities, consist of a range of types and socioeconomic levels. Additionally, the inhabitants of the superquadras include residents, employees, domestics, maintenance people, guards, vendors, and visitors. It is the variety of people that inhabit the same collective space that keeps the public/private relationship dynamic. By investigating the unique practices of different people and recording their individual stories, I discovered that people engaged in tactics that adapted different types of spaces depending on the particular level of privilege they had to that space.

by Wendy Andringa
as “making the building more beautiful.” Their openings often shape circulation into narrow passages under the building where they are in view of the guard, or else they are routed around the building entirely. The pilotis floor has spatial significance for the residents in that it is treated as a threshold between the public and the collective space belonging to the condominium. Often an elevated platform, the step up to a brilliant tile floor serves to separate the terra (earth) from the casa (house). It is cleaned at least once a day and polished to a brilliant shine weekly or monthly. The impact of the clean floor, its ability to impart shame on the visitor, acts as a psychological barrier to pedestrians. While condominium residents use different tactics to control access to space in the pilotis, the non-residents, having less privilege to this space, take advantage of cracks and interstitial spaces in the superquadras. The tactics take the shape of informal hand-built structures and quickly assembled stands offering ephemeral services: one key copy, or one shoeshine. There

Contrary to the intentions of the original designers, among the residents of the superquadras the idea has evolved that being a resident of an apartment block implies a certain entitlement to the pilotis (the collective space underneath and around it). This sense of entitlement is not always extended to pedestrians, and as a result the pilotis is a contested space. In order to protect the “original character” of the superquadras by law, the government agency IPHAN (Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional), has drafted a preservation plan that requires legal approval for all proposed architectonic changes. Part of the Código de Obras e Edificações (building code) is that the pilotis must remain open and free for public passage, according to the original plan. Nevertheless, residents are adept at bending and distorting the codes in order to modify and adapt the pilotis to their own advantage. The residents work to control territory that is nearest to private space. Collectivization is the appropriation of space for private use by the residents of the building. The effect that “collectivization” of the pilotis has on circulation often goes unnoticed. Walking through the pilotis illustrates one way to mediate thresholds and boundaries as well as negotiate spatial adaptations. If the walker has no privilege to the territory, walking becomes a trespass. The central positioning of the porteiro (guard) and the surreptitious presence of surveillance cameras have the effect of selfdiscipline on the pedestrian. It also defines relationships between those that monitor and those that are monitored. Cerca vivas (hedges) planted around buildings act as architectural extensions that add layers and thresholds to the approach to the pilotis. By law, fences and walls are not permitted in the pilotis, but cerca vivas (meaning “live fence”) circumnavigate the law because they are justified

are also transient vendors moving about the quadra on foot to satisfy momentary needs: one ice cream, or one coconut. They weave their own paths through the geometric grid of the superquadras, wandering in search of other

The Planters of SQS 309, Bloco B have planted over 100 species of shrubs and trees in the public space in front of the building in the last 40 years. They have informally adopted the space as their own ecological project: they say that they are “saving the mata atlantica” by importing species from the disappearing forest along the coast.

wanderers, to make the perfect match of thirst and drink, desire and commodity. They move in the spaces between buildings, on the edges, at path intersections. They respond to daily cycles that guide circulation patterns of people in the superquadras. They take advantage of opportunity and function off the grid. Borrowing infrastructure—water, trees, benches, and utility holes— operate in what de Certeau calls the space of the “nowhere, which gives a tactic mobility… that must seize on the wing the possibilities that offer themselves at any given moment.”


Wendy Andringa teaches Landscape Architecture at Syracuse University/SUNY ESF in Syracuse, New York. You can download the full version of this text at

These and other tactics I observed in the superquadras are what inspired the subsequent intervention proposals. Not only was it the idea of my intervening as a researcher in the space of those that I was researching, but the designs take clues from existing practices and phenomena: they highlight and amplify the tactics that I was observing in situ with the field research. Through temporary manipulation and subtle disorientation of familiar elements in the landscape, they actively engage people. Should they be physically realized, responses to the tactics could either test or confirm the research findings. The scale of the tactic is a human scale and its cycle is quotidian. The tactic considers what is within its field of vision and what it obtains is close at hand. As individual phenomena, tactics exist despite the tendency of planners to overlook them, and they take what the planner universalizes and give it a specific name. The interventions test political limits because to actually implement them would involve negotiating permission with the condominium association and building syndicate: to paint a line on the floor, borrow hedges, or project images onto the building façade. The negotiation, participation, and cooperation (or not) of the association are also a part of the work.

1. Intersecting Pedestrian and Boundary
Location: Superquadra109 Sul Open Space Phenomena: Walking + Footpaths + Barriers Operations: Cutting + Pushing + Intersecting Elements: Pedestrian + Cerca Vivas + Public Space Procedure: Existing cerca vivas that surround buildings are to be temporarily appropriated. The long cerca vivas will be cut into smaller fragments, planted in moveable containers on wheels, and pushed into the public space to intersect with the web of heavy footpaths that weave through the open spaces. No longer surrounding the private space, the cerca vivas now lose their potency as barriers to the buildings, and instead become adaptable fragments that intersect with pedestrians in public space. Possibilities: They can now be pushed to interrupt

pathways, reappropriated, or possibly even become stolen property. The intention is to activate and monitor these mediations.

2. Spectacularizing Surveillance
Location: SQS 108/109/308/309 Buildings with surveillance in the pilotis Phenomena: Surveillance Operations: Exploiting + Displacing + Activating Elements: Building surfaces + Surveillance projections +Scale Procedure: Surveillance is magnified by projecting the images it �captures� onto a nearby building façade at night. The surreptitious quality of surveillance is exposed by enlarging it to the superhuman scale of the apartment blocks. This scale enlargement is a reversal of the usual scale reduction of tactics. By bringing the human-scale tactic (surveillance) to the scale of the collective body (building), the new scale more adequately matches the scale of the collective body that it benefits (building association). Like advertising billboards, projected surveillance images transgress into private space by their placement within the field of vision of the residents. They enter the apartment and are visually consumed by the residents. Residents are now confronted with the product of their own tactics as they participate in its consumption.

3. Crossing Boundaries
Location: SQS 108/109/308/309 Phenomena: Public / Collective/ Private spatial mosaic Operations: Crossing + Activating + Revealing Elements: Painted Line + Boundaries + Syndicates In the superquadras, the whitewashing of edges, borders, and curbs is a way of defining space. It is a practice that defines different areas by discriminating between surfaces and materials. The painted edges act as regulating lines that structure our perceptions of space. This landscape is a mosaic of public and collective space that is negotiated by walkers. Procedure: White lines that represent the wandering lines of pedestrians are painted on the ground. The proposed lines follow actual paths and improvisations of pedestrians as they move through the superquadras. They begin at bus stops, cross under the pilotis, cross open spaces, and end at the random places that people stop or enter buildings. Condominium associations become an active part of the intervention through negotiation; permission to paint on the floor with paint, although temporary, is an essential part of the process. Treatment of the line after installation is also a part of the work, by mediating the line it becomes interactive and engaging. Its removal, whether by time, wear, or by washing is also a part of the work.


you cross the tracks you’ve gone too far - maps that tell directions.” Category Two could be called “...and this is where I crashed my bike – maps that tell stories” The first kind sends the receiver on a journey towards a new story of some kind, the second teaches of stories that have already happened. There is a preconception that maps are a visual media that don’t have sounds, but I would argue that they do. Not one of my maps has been given to me in silence: all have been accompanied an entire series of words and gestures. Especially the first type of maps, the directional ones, contain most or all of a particular list of the following visual/verbal clues: Instructions, Procedure, Time/Duration, Anticipation, and Failure/Missteps. Within my explanation I’ll be referring to a fantastic example: a map of tiny Scottsburg, Oregon that I acquired while exploring mostly-forgotten towns along the Oregon coast. Towns like this are the intersections of the visible and invisible; whose prosperous histories either failed or dwindled; yet within them remain traces of a certain, quiet presence where the past lives on. A conversation with the lady at the Scottsburg Post Office led to the creation of this map to direct me to a hidden cemetery from the 1800’s that I’d read about on a web site about ghost towns. As I eventually discovered, its location was nestled off a side street of Scottsburg that wound its way up a mountain, a journey which would’ve made Stephen King or David Lynch lapse into frenzied fits of writing. It begins with [1] Instructions. Every map is made because of a specific purpose. When I’m on a 2 hour break from working at a school in a tiny, unfamiliar town, my purpose would be, “hmm there must be SOMEthing interesting around. I’m here so I might as well find out.” A good map provides the information we need, which will lead to meeting that purpose. And lead me it has, to exploring forgotten sculpture parks, historic train stations, haunted houses and obscure museums. In the case of Scottsburg, my intent was to discover the hidden cemetery. Since this endeavor proved successful, the map has fulfilled its function and left a telling memory. The next characteristic would be [2] Procedure:
Atom’s map of Minneapolis, MN (second time around)

This is the part where arrows are drawn, streets and landmarks and other graphically compelling little shapes and lines, and the person might reinforce this by pointing and gesturing all over the place. Scottsburg shows a great example of procedure; one glance at the map and I remember the tiny hand-carved sign that stood exactly at the crux of the forked upper-left arrow. [3] Time/Duration: the most conscientious map makers might include a marker of time, i.e.: “This will take you about 15 minutes.” In completely foreign places, this is an incredible help, as we all know that doomed feeling of thinking to oneself something along the lines of “Hmm I’ve been driving for an awfully long time...and he never mentioned anything about crossing into Michigan, or driving past that tacky waterpark either....” A variation of this is included on Scottsburg’s “2 miles,” which leads to [4] Anticipation. A less mathematical version of Time/Duration. It provides marked places to look for in order to reassure us that we are going the right way. Back to our Oregon town: on the way, we were to look out for a Bridge, Bob’s

Atom’s map of Minneapolis, MN (first time around)

Market (where we stopped for munchies: bananas, beef jerky, and trail mix that had a slight, nail-polish-like aftertaste), and a Trailer. And finally, [5] Failure/Missteps. Some people include this, some don’t; it all boils down to phrases like “If you cross the train tracks, you’ve gone too far!” Module IV: The Dark Duplex. Mental maps, as mentioned before, are not terribly accurate to the exact measurements of a space. The maps impressed in our minds convey our sense of a place more than hard, objective facts, just as the memories we carry of the street we grew up on are more meaningful than the exact mileage of it. A neighborhood, like a home, is a state of mind that varies from one person’s awareness to the next, and these personal maps are the world we live in. Tracing back from ancient petroglyphs and cave paintings at Lascaux all the way to digital cameras and electronic journals (otherwise known as blogs!), Humans have a tendency to document their lives; to externalize their memories lest they peel off and disappear. Documenting the external world is documenting ourselves, and asking for a map is like saying, tell me what you know – and we all know much more than we think we do. A quote that Jose Saramago burned in my mind ever since reading “The Stone Raft” elaborates that “everyone, independent of whatever skills he may possess has at one time or another said and done things far above his nature or condition,” if we just open our awareness to what we really do know, “how many fragments of deep knowledge would they be able to communicate, for we all know infinitely more than we think.” We all do know infinitely more than we think....and what we ‘actually’ know is quite different than what we ‘think’ we know. To put this idea to practical use, I decided to meet with a fellow named Atom, who had graciously constructed a map for me over nine months ago, to see if he could still remember the information he’d provided back then. Unlike most of my situations, he created this map at home; it was a detailed diagram of the street in Minneapolis that he spent 14 years of his childhood living on. For each marked building


was a corresponding, fascinating little story about a particular nuance of the place: “This Krueger mansion had a chapel and a bomb shelter. Supposedly there were secret passageways.” “Ms. Hall invited our cats into her home. She had a candy dish I liked.” “We called Chris Biesanz “Z-Lip” because he bit a phone cord when he was younger which left a scar.” Fast-forward nine months, to where I instructed Atom to make a second version of the same street, without any forewarning and without letting him look at the original one. I wanted to see how much of the earlier map he really knew and could instantly recall from his memory. After about twenty minutes of him drawing and me munching greasy bar fries, he presented me with his new version and we compared the two. The differences we had found, and his very obvious consternation over a few extra houses in one area, a missing house in another, and a few scrambled/mismatched names, made the exercise more rewarding than I could’ve guessed. The Jones house in the first version was now “The Dark Duplex.” The Anderson house was now the Johnson house (he slapped his forehead over one: the original was correct; the Johnsons were just school friends who lived in a different neighborhood). The height of my map maker’s growing disquiet was a mysterious new addition to the second map: a house marked “Grimes,” in which he seemed to have no idea if that actually existed or even the reason why he had just inserted it there 10 minutes ago. After a few moments of utter confusion he vowed to call his mother to find out (I haven’t followed through on that part.) The lesson learned from this situation is twofold: first of all, the fact that memory can play tricks on you, so what we ‘know’ is sometimes as pliable as a lump of clay. Although Atom tried really hard to make his second map as ‘accurate’ as possible and was therefore quite miffed at the inconsistencies between the two, I would say that the map WAS accurate as an extremely candid portrayal of the impressions that he has committed to his memory of his childhood street, over 20 years after the fact. I do understand his reaction though. To witness physical evidence of one’s own memory in the process of decaying is discomforting to say the least. The last time I happened upon a map of the Paris Metro since the year that I lived there, I at once kicked myself and shivered profusely to see a stop I’d long forgotten about, labeled Denfert-Rochereau. These two hyphenated words, denoting that familiar station with its corridors and unmistakable siren warning that the doors were closing....that station that I passed by a thousand times on the way to my own stop, for an entire year. A sleeping memory was suddenly roused to life. But how on earth could I have forgotten? Another result of this experiment with Atom

supports Saramago’s claim that we all know much more than what we think. There is no one else in the world who knows Linden Hills Blvd., Minneapolis, Minnesota, ca. 1970, in the same way that Atom does, and this idea can be applied to all of us. Even the perception of visual elements like colors are up for interpretation – while many people look at a shadow and see ‘grey --- black mixed with white,’ my painting background would lead me to see blue-toned, reddish, burnt umber, and sepia shadows. Objects, colors, streets, and neighborhoods may have constant, rigid measurements, but the interpretation and organization of it is the result displayed so vividly on the documents we create for ourselves. If we observe not only what we include, but also what we omit, then we will further understand what we actually know. Laurie Hogin, a very talented painter and inspirational professor of mine used to emphatically repeat to our studio class, “PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU PAY ATTENTION TO!” Taking a photo of one thing means we didn’t take a photo of something directly next to it. Including certain elements on a map means we left out something else, either due to lack of knowledge or being aware yet deeming it unimportant. When I ask for a map to the nearest exit ramp of the highway, the gas station attendant will probably leave out the location of the opera house on the other side of town. If I asked an architect to draw me a map of Chicago, it would appear quite different to that of a postal worker, which in turn would contrast the map of a graffiti writer. If I searched for everyone else who grew up on Linden Hills Bld., Minneapolis ca. 1970 and had each of them do the same exercise as Atom, I’m certain that the Jones’ map would differ from the Andersons; which would contrast “Z-Lips’” version, and....who exactly is this Grimes character...? Module V. The Paperless Map and Related Stories The combination of unique knowledge that each of us gleans from the vantage point of our personal space ships is the machine that creates multiple, parallel worlds all existing in unison. The physical and emotional puzzles suspended in space form tight webs for us to decode, and a map is one of the tools we use. Its the multicolored topographical depiction of a tropical rainforest, and the featherlight napkin covered with squiggly lines indicating where Rock River passes through Sterling, Illinois. Its the conversation I recently had at a bar where my rounded fingers formed a circle in midair, and my other hand’s index finger pointed to the bottom-right of this circle: a paperless map created in order to explain to my amicable company where Cleveland, Ohio was in proximity to Lake Erie. Or its the dejavu experience when I wondered to myself why that Polish gas station I randomly stopped at seemed so familiar until, about 10 minutes in, I realized that I’d been there just one day previous, but had approached it from the opposite direction. Instantly my perception of all space and dimension shifted, as if two

examples of various map marks

mechanical gears had just locked into place. And if ever the daily demands that life dishes out causes me to temporarily forget where I’ve been, who I’ve met and what has moved me, I simply need to revisit my Mapsproject to decode the connections between one place and another, and my memory, like the mechanical gears, just locks into place.

Lori Napoleon lives in Chicago, IL. You can see more of her mapsproject collection at

Crosswalk 1.2 :: Space Ships
Editor: Meredith Younger Guest Editor: Joan Wyand (RISD COPS)

Layout: Meredith Younger, J. Gabriel Lloyd, McGurk


Special thanks to: RISD OSL, PIPS, Firehouse 13, The Steel Yard, and all those who contributed to this issue. visit Crosswalk online at

Graphic Design: JohnJ McGurk, J. Gabriel Lloyd, David Allyn 27


PSY-GEO-PROVFLUX, May 27-29th, 2005. Providence, RI

Providence Initiative for Psychogeographic Studies
Submissions Application and Guidelines

PSY-GEO-PROVFLUX, May 27-29th, 2005.

Possible Categories(Please Check One): ___Public Intervention/ Performance/ Participatory Sculpture Providence, RI Submissions Application DEADLINE: April 15, 2005 ___Urban Exploration (derives, tours, abandoned spaces, tunnels, etc) Name individual/group: ___________________________________________________ Address: _____________________________ Email: ___________________________ ___Lost Space Recovery/ Temporary Installations _ URL : ____________________ Phone #: ______________________ ___Gallery Work/ Documentation of Project ___Lecture/ Discussion/ Theory _____________________________ ___Games/ Experimental Public Art _____________________________ Name of Project: _______________________________________________________________ ___Other: ________________________________ Description: ________________________________________________________________ Brief Mission Statement and Resume Should be included in application. Send all informac/o PIPS, The Firehouse 13, 41 Central St, Providence, R.I., 02907 _______________________________________________________________________________ tion to: ________________________________________________________________________________ PLEASE NOTE: Include all relevant digital image, audio, or video files with completed ________________________________________________________________________________ form. Supporting attachments and descriptions are encouraged. Presentors should include copies of texts and/or brief synopsis of material to be considered. z___Tech Mapping/ Audio/ Visual (gps mapping, projections, generative psygeo)

All disciplines are encouraged to submit material. The deadline for proposals is April 15th, 2005.

The Providence Initiative for Psychogeographic Studies (PIPS) is looking for experimental projects in contemporary urban exploration and public art. The Provflux hopes to attract a wide range of artists, thinkers, and explorers for a weekend of interventions and entertainment. The projects can take any form, providing it engages notions of urban space and psychogeography. Public interventions, actions, installations, projects, videos, and documentation will all be considered.