(how to) make friends, make a scene, make things happen, and fall in love with your neighborhood is based on Meta Local’s ongoing project, Boogie Down Rides. Participants are invited to consider the act of riding a bike as a form of performance and community-engaged action.
“Maps are about relationships among which meanings circulate.”
Denis Wood, Rethinking the Power of Maps
More than half of the world’s population are classified as “urban dwellers,” but their experience is hardly unified. For example, drastic socio-economic disparity and unequal access to resources occur in startling proximity in dense urban areas. Further, the city itself is richly woven with public and private spaces constructed through the collective action of individual citizens. Using a street cart as a vehicle for exploration and dialogue, Street CARTographies will travel across a city, exploring the relationships between people from diverse neighborhoods and communities.
This multi-day participatory urban intervention visits plazas and other public gathering places throughout the city. The cart unfolds to serve as a base for a community map and visitors to the plaza are invited to pin locations in a city that are important to them. Participants are given a balloon corresponding to the color of the pin, printed with the text, “I am on the map” As they move through the plaza with their balloons, participants effectively turn the plaza itself into a map representing all of the places important to its’ inhabitants.
Following the intervention, the maps, accompanying documentation including photographs and videos, and the street cart itself is installed in an exhibition space in order to further the dialogue and include other participants.
Street CARTographies maps the relationships—both visible and invisible—that shape the meanings of the city for its inhabitants. These maps are not only containers for information but rather bridges between people, ideas and places. By visualizing the relationships at work in public spaces, this project articulates the construction of space in both geographical and human terms.
This project is a collaboration between Hatuey Ramos Fermín and Elizabeth Hamby we are artists and educators working together to investigate the dynamics of urban space; exploring the histories of buildings and neighborhoods, and tracing the flows of people, ideas and products. Combining documentary strategies with performance and fine art, their collaborative practice seeks to articulate concepts of origin, public-ness and private-ness, and the sense of place.
Boogie Down Rides is a celebration of bicycling in the Bronx. It includes educational events, community visioning sessions and group rides.
Boogie Down Rides firmly believes in the power of bicycling as a way to promote active transportation, recreation, and exercise. We support and build bridges of existing efforts to expand safe cycling while connecting communities and people in the process.
In collaboration with community-based organizations in the Bronx, the artists presented Boogie Down Rides, a month long cycling celebration and public education project. The project ran throughout the month of May and hosted a series of educational events, community visioning sessions and group rides. Visitors and community member learned about ongoing cycling projects in the Bronx including the development of greenways and bike paths. The project was also a place for community engagement and for members of the public to respond to these initiatives through surveys and participatory workshops. By creating a cycling project, Boogie Down Rides aimed to increase awareness of cycling as a mode of transportation and recreation, promote safe cycling and bridge existing efforts to expand cycling in the Bronx.
Urban Layers (www.urbanlayers.net) is an experimental collaborative platform (created by Elizabeth Hamby and David Sundell) for urban writing, mapping and media. Its goal is to foster creative combinations of old and new media techniques for describing and understanding cities including tours, essays, photography, maps and video. UrbanLayers is intended to span platforms and settings, for example linking location-based augmented reality using mobile devices with the emerging possibilities for long-form reading offered by tablets and ebooks.
UrbanLayers is currently under active development. Our “preview” first issue, “Food,” uses East Harlem, one of the city’s “food deserts” as a springboard for investigating the relationship between people, place, money and health in New York City. It is being released to coincide with the opening of Taller Borricua’s exhibition Barri-o-rama, which includes UrbanLayers collaborator Hatuey Ramos-Fermin’s Grocery Map Project.