On 9/18/08, a group of 12 graduate students in Public Art Studies at USC and their professor, Susan Gray, took a tour of public art in Los Angeles. As part of that, they participated in an activity on a traffic island in Hollywood located at Wilcox and Franklin Ave.
They arrived at 7pm. After an initial discussion where we shared questions about the space and project, we began a mapping activity.
The class broke up into groups of 4 and walked around the island making a map.
After about 10 minutes, I went up to each group and shared the following:
Maps are pictures
Maps are self-portraits
Maps are manifestations of perceptions
Maps are portraits of the world in the manner
in which those preparing them would like
the world to be understood
Maps are subjective
Mapping is…an act of power
(This is the opening to Chapter 1 of An Atlas of Radical Cartography – Other Worlds, Other Maps: Mapping the Unintended City which was written by Jai Sen. The Atlas is edited by Lize Mogel and Alexis Bhagat. Note: lines 5 and 6 are supposed to be indented but the wordpress editor doesn’t allow me to do this.)
Following this the groups traded maps, and we enjoyed the food people brought to share. Each group then shared/interpreted the map they were given to everyone else and then returned it to the group that made them map, so they could share it with everyone. Following this we had a discussion about various issues including place, time and public art while enjoying the food. While Islands of LA is not selling anything, groups were told that should anything related to these maps ever be sold, they would be contacted to discuss how to handle it.
Here are the maps:
The students were invited to continue working on a map of a traffic island on their own or with Islands of LA, and it could be of this island or any island.
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