Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Parking Private

Just came across a post from earlier this month by artist/designer Jonah Brucker-Cohen that included the image below.
One of the most threatening signs related to parking we've ever seen.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Punk Rock (and business) on Tour

Justin Moyer, of DC area rockers Antelope, is keeping a blog of their travels while on tour. I'm not sure why it's called "Iceland", but it discusses some great moments in professional tourism. Highlights so far are the recent post about being late to a French show that goes something like this:
P: All right! So, we understand you have been waiting for two hours for us to play! Well, we're gonna rock your socks off! Yeah!
C: (silence).
P: All right, baby! But before we rock (guitar tuning sounds)... let me tell you all about our drive. Goddamn, we are late! You must think we're real... how do you say?... assholes?
C: (silence).
After recently flying and noticing the sheer overwhelming number of apparently business-based travelers, we think some work on the Professional Tourist is in order. We've all seen them, and perhaps been one of them - those folks with bluetooth headsets siting tethered to an outlet working on a spreadsheet. Judging by the ads one encounters in US airports, one might assume these are the only people flying. How are the political economies of mobile sales and consulting (or rock and roll) linked with those of tourism?
I'm sure there is some good writing out there... and we've come across some essays in edited anthologies, but maybe there are some texts we're missing... anyone out there with any suggestions?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Juridical Tourism

The New York Times has a story on the Pentagon's plans for a portable judicial complex to be built in Guantanamo to serve as a courtroom and related needs, such as housing "550 court officials, lawyers, security guards and journalists from around the world."
The new portable design - "a $12 million “M*A*S*H” set for the age of terror," perhaps a fitting legal parallel to the Neocon idea of a faster, lighter army (put forward by Rumsfeld and others), has taken over previous plans for a $100 million dollar permanent court house.
Fredric I. Lederer, the director of the Center for Legal and Court Technology at the William and Mary School of Law quoted in the piece notes, “It’s something new... We do not normally design courtrooms that can be folded up and shipped.”
On another, not unrelated matter, Alternet has an article about Federal tracking of travel.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Touring the Imaginary

Thanks to our friends over at Leisure Arts, we've been thinking about the creation of fictional states/geographies/borders as a form of tourism that is both potentially escapist and critical. They pointed us to the website of the Republic of Molossia, a small nation-state within the state of Nevada. With it's beginnings in 1977 as a kingdom, it is now a People's Republic with a satellite protectorate in Pennsylvania known as New Antrim, with which there seem to be some conflicts over tobacco production. The RoM even has a virtual tour for us virtual tourists.
There are the travel parodies such as the Jet Lag series of bombastic travel guides to places like San Sombrero and Bongoswana, that try (ineffectively we would argue )to point out Eurocentrism by overdoing stereotypes and misconceptions.
In the realm of more codified art, Yael Kanarek's sprawling narrative World Of Awe comes to mind.
The proposed Nine Nations of North America is also an instance of speculative geography. But if the geographic imaginary just isn't enough, you can stage a psychic secession.
Image of "micro-nation" directional signage from the Republic of Molossia.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

More Than Mall Rats?

Lots of people (well, relatively speaking) have been talking about the hostels IKEA has opened up in a couple of its Norwegian stores (Oslo), but what if you really want to stay near a mall and are unfortunate enough to not have one of the big-boxes filled with hip designer beds? Well, some folks in Providence, RI built an apartment for themselves in the Providence Place Mall parking garage. AT 750 square feet, it probably would have made for a great IKEA concept room. Alas, their abode within the shopping paradise was shut down by Mall authorities, but not before it was "christened" by a burglar.