Monday, April 21, 2008

Touring Collectivism After Modernism in Japan

Collectivism After Modernism book cover
We've been reading Gregory Sholette and Blake Stimson's book on collective cultural practices, and the chapter on Japanese collectivism by Reiko Tomii was especially interesting due to our lack of knowledge about collective art in Japan. Of special interest is the work of the Sightseeing Art Research Institute and the Play. Of course, Hi-Red-Center's work, slightly more known to us, is also really fascinating, especially the Cleaning Event staged during the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Apparently, the Sightseeing Art Research Institute also performed a doughnut eating performance at the Olympic stadium as well. We're going to look more into this work (starting with Tomii's endnotes) and its relationship to the Travel Office, but if anyone has any immediate information, including other book suggestions, please let us know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Teaching Starlings, Teaching Ourselves

Brian Collier, a friend of the Travel Office, recently conducted a tour and Starling "teach-in" in Kansas City. For more information about what Brian is teaching Starlings, check out his website.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rings of Dissent

The NY Times has a photo slide show of some activist appropriations of the Olympic rings logo.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Temporary Travel Office Report "Contaminating the Preserve"

The Temporary Travel Office has just released a 44 page report that summarizes our research and initial recommendations for expanding the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve in Jacksonville, FL.

The report, titled "Contaminating the Preserve," outlines two proposals: our 2006-7 proposal for an 800 km elevated boardwalk connecting the current Preserve to Guanabacoa, Cuba as well as the more recently proposed extension to the current Preserve that we are currently referring to as the Ash Site Annex, a 43 square mile area of Northwest Jacksonville that contains 7 former incinerator and ash-dump sites.

You can download the report as a 3.4MB PDF file

The Travel Office is also planning the second phase of our consultation, which is being planned as an exhibition and series of discussions at the University of North Florida sometime between Fall 2009 and Spring 2010.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Touring Hidden Histories in Southampton

A couple of weeks ago, we received an email from Armin Medosch announcing a new audio/oral history project titled "Hidden Histories" in Southampton.
From the project description:
Hidden Histories uses the revolutionary new concept of Street Radio developed by Hive Networks to make the treasures of Southampton's Oral History Archive available in the public realm of the city. Street Radio is a totally new way of experiencing the city. The system utilises wireless communication technologies such as WIFI and Bluetooth in combination with FM radio to create captive 'puddles' -- specific places where particular stories and themes can be heard. By broadcasting using very weak radio transmitters with a range of about 10 meters a selection of stories from the OHU can be heard along 10 nodal points (location) from where byte-sized stories are transmitted. These nodes link together to form a media rich walk that transports people through the changing life of the city.

The Oral History Unit is an almost hidden jewel in Southampton's culture and heritage department. While well known and highly regarded in the international Oral History expert community, it is literally unknown outside Southampton otherwise. For more than 20 years the OHU has been recording the life stories told by the people themselves. Through the voices of common people it offers a window back into time: on the "tale end of the Dickensian age" as one interviewee puts it himself, where men had to queue every day for work at a shed at the entrance to the docks, to the hard life on the passenger ships and tug boats, an oral history is told that does not conform to the cliches and stereotypes of the official versions produced by todays media industry. The unsung heroes of historical moments such as the sinking of the Titanic or famous journeys of ships such as the Queen Mary are telling their own stories from the insiders perspective. Lesser known stories such as the secret social life on ships, the achievements of women in the heavy industries during WWII, and the troubles of immigrants from Asia and the Caribbean surface in this archive. While many of these stories tell of trials and tribulations they also shine with humanity and joyful moments.

Supermax Subscriptions

For those who accumulate frequent flier miles through credit cards and/or just traveling a lot, here's a great use for those excess miles. Our friends at Temporary Services, Tamms Poetry Committee, and frequent Travel Office collaborator Sarah Ross have initiated a project called Supermax Subscriptions, that connects your excess of mobility with those who have been completely stripped of the ability to move. Holders of miles are given the names and contact info for men held in Tamms and their specific requests for magazines so that gift subscriptions can be made out to them.
The project comes out of a group of people in Illinois working to abolish the state's Tamms Prison, or at least return it to the mandate that originally opened under. Tamms is a "C-Max" prison, which is a form of "supermax" facility in which its prisoners are kept in constant solitary confinement. For more info on this movement, see the Tamms Year Ten Campaign.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Touring the Living Kitchen

An amazing Chicagoan that we just recently met, but have known about for a long time, Nance Klehm is leading a "series of informal foraging and cooking workshops that hopes to reorganize our connection to land, ourselves and our communities through the processing and sharing of local and regional foods."
It sounds great!
Here's an interview with her from a recent Weekend America.
Here's the schedule for the Living Kitchen/URBANFORAGE workshops (in Chicago) this Spring:

APRIL 20th, sunday 2-4pm
urbanforage walk humbolt park – meet at boathouse

10th, saturday, 2-4pm
urbanforage walk kinzie metra tracks – meet at kinzie & racine

14th, wednesday, 6-9:30pm
sprouting essene bread, raw crackers, nut milks, sprouting
learn the basics of sprouting and ways of using enlivened seeds

28th, wednesday, 6-9:30pm
raw milk cheese 1 - cultured butter, buttermilk, yogurt, yogurt cheese, ricotta and paneer we are using local raw milk. you will be taking home some of everything we make.

22nd, sunday 2-4pm
urbanforage walk medical district – meet at taylor & damen

28th, saturday. 9am -1pm
local medicine herbal tinctures/salves/syrups/linaments/lozenges/infusions
the solstice is the perfect time to forage and collect plants for medicinal use through the year. go home with some of everything we make.

For more information, including registration, email Nance at nettlesting+at+yahoo+dot+com.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mapping Health

Christian Nold, who has been investigating the mapping of physiological and emotional responses to space in various cities (like San Fran and Silvertown), is continuing to move the maps in even more complicated and interesting territory this April and May in Brentford (London, UK). Under the name Brentford Biopsy, Nold is teaming up with designer Daniela Boraschi to work "with local residents to gather information for digital and physical visualizations of the ecological, cultural and economic 'health' of Brentford."
Taking the notion of health beyond the individuated body, they project the metaphor of the biopsy into the realm of public health. As they put it:
Instead of taking tissue samples as one would from a human being Christian Nold and participants will be using a range of cultural probes to investigate the local social body and its unique ailments.
Since cartography and public health go way back, we remain skeptical of utopian community mapping projects. But we're also heartened to see the expansion of inputs to include the sensing of issues that might lie below (or beyond?) the physiological surface.

Area of Detail

We just received an announcement from another colleague about a new project that sounds extremely interesting. Lize Mogel (co-editor of An Atlas of Radical Cartography) is opening a show at common room 2 in New York titled Area of Detail.
Speaking of which, here are the details:

common room 2
April 6 - May 31, 2008

Opening Reception:
Sunday April 6, 6-8pm

Artist's Talk:
Thursday May 8, 7pm

The translation of the spherical world onto the flat plane of a map is a mathematical problem; the translation of the political world into a map is an ideological problem. How does one represent the world in a way that does not show dominance? Something or someone is always on the top or at the center.

The United Nations emblem is a world map centered on the North Pole. The continents are not divided by national boundaries, thus geopolitical relationships are not pictured. This map is purely symbolic, representing nations united under common interests, all parts considered equal.

What is at the center of the UN emblem? A blank spot that belies the geopolitical realities of the area. This area of detail, the ice-bound
ocean of the Arctic Circle, is regulated by the UN through the Law of the Sea which sets how nations define and exploit their territorial
boundaries. As the climate warms and ice recedes, new possibilities for commerce and capital become possible. This center of the World is becoming a focal point in other ways, as surrounding nations look to claim territory in order to develop new energy resources and commercial routes.

Area of Detail is a continuation of Lize Mogel's work on rethinking familiar representations of the world, including the world map and the spectacle of World's Fairs.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

LA to TJ Mobile Conference

Travel Office Los Angeles friend James Rojas just sent us an announcement for a mobile conference taking place between LA and Tijuana. From his announcement:
Join urban planners, architects, environmentalists, and community activists for a one day mobile conference by train, trolley, and foot that explore the local and regional cultures, land use, and environment within the Southern/Baja California region.

The train travels through both spectacular natural settings and heavily polluted sites. The train trip brings together both man-made systems such as transportation and land use patterns with natural systems such as rivers and water sheds. The train travels through the poorest and richest communities. This conference will use transportation infrastructure to host discussions on four topic areas: transportation, social issues, and how the natural and built environment impact the region. In addition the conference will take advantage of views from the train, trolley and foot to illustrate these points while cruising by the LA River, Hobart Rail Yards, 710 Expansion, Great Park, San Gabriel River, Casa Familiar, Tijuana River and many other projects.

Community activists from Los Angeles, San Diego and Tijuana have been invited to participate and share their ideas. These groups include Natural Resource Defense Council , The Nature Conservancy, Reconnecting America, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, Friends of the Los Angeles River, The Coalition for Clean Air, Latino Urban Forum, Environmental Health Coalition, Casa Familiar and many others. This will help frame local issues into a large regional framework.

The date is May 3, and for more information check out