Sunday, December 9, 2007

Travelogues are made for the purpose of documenting a journey, a desire for adventure, pleasure and knowledge. Its open narrative form involves an autobiographical element combining life, performance and representation.

For some time I have been interested in incorporating ideas related to travelogue and ethnography in my work. For A to B I plan to investigate the mobile space of the commute in Los Angeles by exploring three routes (river, railroad, freeway), solitary and collective modes of transportation (walk, train, car) from my house in Altadena (mountain) to Long Beach (river mouth). Although the routes have the same beginning and end point, for the most part they run parallel to each other. They are: Walk (Arroyo Seco-LA River); train (256 Metro bus-Gold Line-Blue Line); car (I-710 Long Beach Freeway).

I will use a video camera to document my journey(s); a search for events, people, sights and the empty melancholy of the city itself. As in early travelogues, the video will consist of long shots with no camera movements and formal compositions. Through traveling I will confront myself as artist, tourist, ethnographer and wanderer. From “foot-slogging” to modern modes of transportation, the travelogue will present a look at the physical and social landscape inquiring about how the route and the experience of the route changes depending on the mode of travel. It will also reflect on how LA has developed and changed over time and how our way of moving through space has changed.

In addition to the video, I plan to print a map suggesting a series of points of interest to be distributed to FOCA visitors and in the commuters’ routes. Similar to a travel guide, the map will contain historical and cultural information gathered during my research as well as personal stories or insights collected during the trip. Besides mapping the space of the commute, the project will also intervene in it by encouraging new ways of looking at the space of the commute and experiencing the city.

Ultimately the project will provide a portrait of Los Angeles reflecting on issues of stasis and motion, physical and mental movements, self and other, the familiar and the new, geography and social inequality, all of which are embedded in the commute and in the different routes we take on a daily basis.

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