Three people are invited to join the artist on a walking tour and picnic. During the Champaign iteration, the short walk passed through a historic train yard, light industrial yards, and two commercial downtown areas. The groups’ discussion meandered through what people knew about or had experienced in this space to stories involving train tracks. The place we stopped to eat was on a grassy spot above a pedestrian viaduct that is a border between these areas. Participants are provided with ceramic plates, bowls, spoons and “things”. These implements have been created through a process of forming clay over pipes, storm water drains, parts of old bridges, train tracks and fire hydrants—objects in the urban environment that are part of an infrastructure of movement.
This project raises questions about the political implications of the regimes of spatial power at work in the urban landscape. One of the ways it does this is through documenting and highlighting evidence of past and present regimes. A fence, once used to control human presence in an area, became unnecessary and was dismantled. The groups’ travels in the urban landscape address vectors of movement through space, people being one type of movement and the structures that are addressed through the dinnerware being another. Sewer drains make up a web-like spatial system below ground which emerges at specifically determined points, a person moving along the grid of streets periodically intersects these points. Space is generally thought of in terms of the lands surface, but my project aims to elicit consideration of the complex use of horizontal, vertical and temporal space at work in the urban landscape and to posit political implications of these uses. Photograph 1 & 2 by: Paul Shortt