I was thinking about Lord of the Rings the other day. Books and films. I was thinking about Tolkien's constructed world coming alive through his words. This 'Middle Earth' is probably based on existing place, but it feels so real. I realized, as I was arguing about whether Mordor was a part of Middle Earth, that I had a vision of what this place looked like. I still think Mordor is part of Middle Earth. This discussion led me to think about maps as on object of Material Culture. Some maps are made to tell us where we are in relation to the world and other maps are constructed politically to define culture, language and space. Maps that delineate ways of life and try to tell someone who they are are of particular interest to my research. I would like to study how maps/cartographies are internalized and become part of an identity. Is the map merely a tool or a way to define and classify identity?
I realized that the thing I collect more than anything these days are links. I have a Facebook page where I just post links about art and other things I find interesting. The underlying collecting here seems to be the collection of stories. Each link contains information on a topic. I make it a point to read/review each link before I 'share' it on my facebook page. I have allowed my students to 'like' my page in the hopes that they will also link some of the same news items or artists that I post on my page. I never thought about it before, but would I collect these links if I knew no one was looking? I only have 20 'likes' for my page, so it's likely that only about two people are actually looking at the things I post. I think I do it for me, as a way of keeping memory and tracking interesting items. I think I like being able to refer back to these stories and images. As a whole my facebook page looks like a quilt of images and words that reflects my interests for the last few months.
I'm not sure if it fits within the parameters of this course, but I would love to research how memory is constructed and collected in reference to personal autobiography. On a larger scope I am interested in how memories are collected and stored in general and how visual and material culture (objects, spaces, artworks, etcetera) influence long term memory construction and collection. For me this is a very personal interest as I have a long memory and I remember spaces, places, things, what people were wearing, and what color the walls were 15 years ago. I am not sure what this means, but I think if I could refine this topic I could have something to research that would be of great interest to me. I just hope it makes sense in reference to the course. Either way, these are topics/subjects I would like to pursue for my research in the program
I had an idea today on educator/personal identity. I wonder how my own identity as educator is affected by the urban spaces I have inhabited. Does the city cause ones identity to change or shift, both personally and publicly? This idea of identity construction might be something I would like to pursue in my research. Probably more of a narrative based inquiry.
I thought I would write some reflections on my time in Brooklyn to tweak some ideas on collecting and urban spaces. Unfortunately, I am more confused than ever. I found Dr. Balangee-Morris' presentation and stories so interesting that I am rethinking the focus of my own work. I think I would like to incorporate some aspects of cultural memory into my project, but I am not sure exactly if I want my project to focus on Brooklyn. I am throwing around the idea of focusing on Brooklyn artists why Urban spaces seem to foster art making. Something else I am mulling is the idea of New York in art. What is it about cities that makes such an impact on artists. I'm not convinced yet that these are ideas I want to pursue. But I am sure that I want my project to address cultural memory.
Heard somewhere that Bruce Willis is suing Apple so he can pass on his i tunes music collection to his daughters. After reading about collections it seems almost an intrinsic thing for human beings to collect. We collect memories, stories, and even a massive mp3 collection from i tunes. Does Bruce want his daughters to listen to his music when he is gone? Does he want to do this because he wants them to remember him, or is it because he has an amazing collection of music and he wants to know it won't die with him. The reason for collecting varies and our expectations for collecting vary as well, but I wonder if it is something hard-wired into our brains that says, "you should collect things, that's what
I last visited Coney Island with my friend and Brooklyn native, Alicia. She grew up around Bay Ridge and knows the ins and outs of Brooklyn. Which is nice for for me--I'm an Ohio girl.
Coney Island has a feeling of history and nostalgia coupled with a feeling of an oppressive change. Always adapting with new rides nd attractions, but keeping the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel as reminders of the way things were. Is is strange, however, that such an amusement park exists with the attraction of the beach. I imagine it grew from small boardwalk shops to what it was in its prime and changed into what it is today. The clientele is older, the bathing suits more saggy. People still flock to Coney Island, despite the dense seaweed ridden beach. Perhaps for a piece of history or just to drink a slush puppy.
Before I left Brooklyn I went to the Transit Museum, I took this picture from one of the older subway cars they have on display.
When I had the subway system, I didn't appreciate it. It was a place to read the New Yorker and not breathe in too deeply because the smelly guy is going to stand right in front of you.
I hate driving and now I have to do it. I'd rather be reading the New Yorker. Again this has nothing to do with what we discussed in class, but this is what I'm thinking about and so this is what I'm writing about. I miss subways and buses. I miss a chance to watch people. I miss that people would run because they could "feel" their train coming. I even miss the G train. one of the worst trains in the entire subway system.
I wish Columbus had a monorail...there I said it.
I realize I have moved from one of the most walkable cities to a city that is more of a driving city. Walking is an important way of seeing a space. Walking in DUMBO under the Brooklyn Bridge you really think about the structure of the bridge and what it is bridging. It is a link from Manhattan to Brooklyn. A place for people to run, walk congregate, and marvel at New York City. Sometimes while on the bridge I thought about the lives lost in making the structure. The human bodies that were now actually a part of the the bridge. It's a morbid thought. We speak of financial and educational hubs in a city, but bridges and infrastructure seems equality important in considering and studying urban spaces. I have a mugs from Fishs Eddy called 'Bridge and Tunnel' and every time I look at them I remember the droves of people coming from Jersey and the Outer Boroughs to the City to work. I think about what would happen without these structures. Who would work in Manhattan? Just people rich enough to afford the $5,000- 50,000 monthly charges for rent in the city? I'm not sure if this is what I am supposed to say in this journal, these thoughts are often passing and very trivial, but this is what came to mind so I wrote it.
Change....Seems to me the only thing one can truly expect to expect in an urban space is change. I am coming back to Ohio and Ohio State after a number of years away. I don't know where anything is and nothing looks the same. I wonder if this Sol LeWitt piece is still up on campus? I wonder if it is still under construction? Part of me felt that Columbus was one of those places that never changed, but I was wrong. I have yet to tap into the spirit of this city and I feel like I am sitting in an ivory tower reading about it instead of living, but I imagine this too shall change.
We've had two classes and this is my second journal. I'm not sure what I should be retaining. I'm enjoying the readings. I enjoyed the papers that included artist reflections on their cities. I often romanticize my spaces, and imagine that they are living entities from which I can learn and grow. Perhaps this is not the outlook I need in this course of study. Perhaps