Tuesday, January 23, 2007


The WE Riders documentary installation presented the projects components in an interactive format. Viewers could explore printouts of all of the weblog entries, see our GPS routes and read all of the collected surveys. The only piece that we left out was our tandem; we still needed to ride! So we presented a full-scale cardboard mock-up.

Some special features of the installation: a 10 foot table in the shape of Oakland fabricated by Bruce Douglas, detailed analysis of the surveys created by Jason MacCannell, PhD, and documentary footage of our rides filmed by Erin Stamos.

As part of the exhibit, Jason gave a very informative presentation about his analysis and findings concerning the surveys. The event was well-attended; participates engaged in a lively discussion about the intersections of art and science.

We want to give a special thanks to Pro Arts staff and volunteers who helped to make this show into a reality. And thanks again to our master documenter, Pamela Palma.


Blogger gabriel said...

Sue, this is your old pal Gabriel here. Just finished reading all about your travels through East, West, and Central Oakland. Brings back many memories for me. OK, so I only actually lived in Oakland proper for about two years* - but after living in SF for ten years and in Berkeley for another eight or so I always felt that Oakland was my backyard, my playground, and - for a time - my bread and butter**.

Not sure if we have talked about my library addiction. I carry a fistful of library cards around with me, from all over the Bay Area, LA, and NY.

When I lived in the Bay Area I must have visited 90% of Oakland's branches. Usually I was in search of a particular book, but I used my visits to branches new to me as an excuse to scope out the neighborhood. I'd look on a map first to scope out the squiggly blue line denoting a nearby creek, and would always ask library staff for their recommendations on the best local cafe, bakery, pizza slice, etc. Grab my book, grab a snack, walk around, sit by the water. I miss that.

But now that I'm back in NY that's what I'm doing here. Not always easy finding a creek here, but you'd be surprised at the hidden havens in untouristed parts of Brooklyn and Queens. If not water, at least there's the (sadly disappearing) artistry to be found on numerous residential and commercial buildings of centuries past.

Last semester, when I was teaching at York College in Jamaica (heavily urbanized center of Queens), I was astonished to discover, after getting off the subway and walking up the stairs, onto Archer Avenue (no trees, no grass, just slab-sided multi-storey shopping centers and government buildings), turning right into the tunnel beneath the Long Island Railroad, emerging from the tunnel onto the York campus with its 70s-era red-brick windowless behemoth academic buildings, a tiny pocket cemetery. The cemetery is filled with old-growth trees and crumbling tombstones, the engraved details of which tend to be too rubbed down to decipher. But understandable if you happen to notice the plaque explaining the graveyard's history. It predates the American Revolution! ...having been established in the mid-1600s.

Anyway, I love that you do this work. It's so important. I wish someone were doing something similar here.

*My first apartment in Oakland was on Echo Avenue, uphill from Piedmont Avenue, and just across the street from the Piedmont border, but still in Oakland. I remember how contentious it was (still is?) talking about where you lived. Some neighbors, striving, said they lived in Piedmont. Those who lived in Piedmont would be sure to correct you. Others, shamed by the Piedmont connection, never used the "P" word and only referred to Oakland.

Interestingly, when I moved over to 41st near Broadway (or just above Broadway, as some neighbors would be sure to point out), it was common for residents of that neighborhood to refer to their area as "Piedmont Avenue." Sure, it was quite close, but the effort to distinguish it from the dreaded "below Broadway" was quite transparent.

And by the way, I've never heard anyone refer to "Central Oakland."

**I worked for Sentinel Fair Housing for a few years in the mid-90s while I was teaching at Berkeley Adult.

8:00 AM  

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