“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.
Photo Documentation by Jo Q Nelson, Chad Stayrook and Hatuey Ramos-Fermín While the Bronx was
Burning, Casa Amadeo was holding it down was a multi-modal installation and series of public programs. This project was produced collaboratively by Elizabeth Hamby, Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, and Action Club (Chris Domenick, Kerry Downey, Jo Q. Nelson, Douglas Paulson), as part of Shifting Communities, a sequence of exhibitions curated by Chad Stayrook at the Bronx River Art Center. Casa Amadeo is a record shop and a cultural treasure trove preserving the history and vitality of Latin music in the South Bronx. By choosing it as a launch pad, we are able to explore ideas of community, collaboration, and culture. In response to challenges we each have in our individual artwork and our shared concerns about the responsibilities of socially engaged art, we gave each other assignments that respond to Casa Amadeo’s rich social, visual, and acoustic space. DEATH TO FALSE BOOGALOOmixtape in collaboration with Douglas Paulson, Kerry Downey, Hatuey Ramos FermínEl Elemento del Bronx Panel Discussion
The first Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC) Latin Music roundtable, “El Elemento del Bronx, a Latin Jazz Tale”, was moderated by Bill Aguado of the Bronx Music Heritage Center with guests: Elena Martinez, folklorist; Bobby Sanabria, multi-nominated Grammy bandleader, drummer, and educator;Michael Max Knobbe, Executive Director of Bronx Net; Angel R. Rodriguez Sr., musician, arranger and Bronx Living Legends producer; and Al Quiñones, producer of 52 Park Music Series. Roundtable guests have distinguished themselves as Latin Jazz music leaders and historians, representing the Bronx through their creativity and commitment.
Participants discussed the role of demographic shifts in the Bronx in the shaping of the musical landscape of today, the evolution of Latin Music over the last 30 years, and the role of women musicians in the Latin music field.
Hip hop has become the chronicler of our times, providing historical context of issues, concerns, social attitudes, and negative stereotypes Panelists will be asked to reflect on hip hop as they remember it and talk about what hip hop is today. They also were asked about how the changing demographics influenced hip hop as a genre. The BMHC is committed to preserving the legacy of hip hop and other music genres in the Bronx for current and future generations. This conversation was documented in audio and video and was added to the growing archive of the Bronx Music Heritage Center for sharing with the broader community.
Collaborating artists Jules Rochielle (text), Elizabeth Hamby (image) Hatuey Ramos Fermín (text treatment). This project was part of Pacific Standard Time Art in L.A. 1945-1980. Pacific Standard Time Performance and Public Art Festival, LA>Tower of Protest (1966). Originally conceived by the Los Angeles Artists’ Protest Committee, and designed by Mark di Suvero, the Artists’ Tower of Protest was erected on a vacant lot at the corner of Sunset Blvd. and La Cienega in 1966 as a symbol of collective dissent against the Vietnam War. Surrounded by hundreds of artist-designed 2′ x 2′ panels, the tower stood firm for a period of three months despite attacks against it, and at times, its organizers. A powerful declaration, the Artists’ Tower of Protest has since become one of the most important landmarks in the history of arts activism. From January 19-29, 2012, the Artists’ Tower of Protest was erected once again on a vacant lot at the corner of Sunset Blvd and Hilldale in West Hollywood, CA. Inviting artists who originally participated in the creation of the tower and others from younger generations, this iteration of the Artists’ Tower of Protest aims to create an opportunity to reflect on the status of arts activism today in light of our social, economic, and political climates. This is one of the panels included in the installation.
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.