The Process

Here are photos of me installing the Hidden Stories project in Tompkins Square Park. The hardest part was crossing the fence the first time. So I jumped over the fence a few more times, just to erase the psychological boundaries that were making me nervous about crossing the fence. It worked! Once I made it into the flower garden, most people did not care that I had broken the law or crossed a boundary that we shoudlnt cross.
I found places that reminded me of human geographic places. For instance the bottom of the tree reminded me of a street corner. which prompted me to invision the meeting place of Mr. Wolf and Red Riding Hood.
Once I set up the pieces to the story, I had a distinct feeling that the space had changed. It had graciously opened up its features to embrace the story that I placed in it. I was nervous to leave the pieces behind, because I was afraid they would be stolen. But I also wanted to turn it over to the public and let people make what they wanted of it.
I chose Tompkins Square Park because it is a shared public space. The people who this park belong to are of a diverse social identity. This park is a play space for kids and a drug trade hot spot. The story of Red Riding Hood is a tales who's lesson is a warning to innocence to not be fooled by deceptive kindness. My retelling of the story was inspired by the people and the vibe of the park.

Red Riding Hood

One day Red was out walking through her hood. She happily strolled through the sunny fields of flowers and green to go check in on her Granny and bring her some fresh things.

When rounding the corner Red runs into that old Mr. Wolf sitting under the tree. “Hello little Red, where are you skipping to so quickly?” said the wolf from his stoop on a stump. Red wasn’t having any of his trickery today, so she skipped right on by him and whistled away. “Well we’ll just have to see where she goes”, said the wolf as he tiptoed behind her.He knows Red is off to her granny’s house again and he wants those juicy grapes atop her head. Mr. Wolf sprints ahead to granny’s house and kicks the old woman out, ties her up in the closet and jumps into her bed. Hiding oh so cleverly under the blanket in grannies bonnet, the wolf waits for Red to come a knocking.

Just then Red calls out, “Granny are you home?” and Mr. Wolf eagerly replies, “Yes dear, I’m in the bed.” He smiles at his cleverness and asks her to step nearer. “Come here, let me see what you’ve brought for granny?” Red tiptoes into the room to see what is to be seen.
“Are you feeling alright granny?” asked Red, “Your eyes are looking a little big.” “Ah, the better for me to see you with my dear.” shrilled the wolf.Red was not fooled by the wolf’s clever disguise. She could spot his beady eyes from across the room. That’s why she came prepared. Hidden behind her red cape is a big black skillet. She’s just waiting to get close enough to smack that fool wolf over the head.

“And granny, what big ears you have?” said Red. “Makes it better for me to hear you with”, lies the wolf. “Come in closer so granny can get a better look at you.”

Red knew she had better move quickly. So she inched in closer, then jumped up onto the foot of the bed and smacked that wolf up side his head!
Then she tied him up good and freed granny from the closet.

And for dinner that night, they ate wolf stew.The End

Hidden Stories

Here is a link to the flickr group and the instructions for that group:

Discover the hidden stories of everyday places.

Hidden Stories is a public art project that investigates people’s connection to familiar places, by using them as inspiration for imagining stories. By re-seeing and re-imagining the landscape, we endow the space around us with new meanings and narrative possibilities.

Hidden Stories asks you to look at your landscape with an investigative eye. Find parts of the landscape spark imagination. Can you create a narrative space in the public sphere?

“The challenge is to fathom what it is that a particular landscape, filled to brimming with past and present significance, can be called upon to “say,” and what, through the saying, it can be called upon to “do”. Keith Basso, Wisdom Sit in Places

This can be done in 3 steps:

1. Investigate your environment. Find places that trigger curiosity and suggest or possess a hidden meaning.

2. Document the space to reveal its hidden narrative potential. Feel free to add details to the environment that will complete the story.

3. Post your Hidden Stories here, along with a written account of the story.

Park/green space is supposed to be where people can go to relax and imagine. However in the name of safety our public spaces have become more regulated and patrolled. What do these fences, borders, rules and survaliance do to our relationship to the landscape? I believe the effect is that the environment becomes a symbolic space, rather than place you feel compelled to interact with beyond a basic level. However our public engagement with our neighborhoods is what creates a shared cultural dialogue. When people interact with their environment, their voices, stories and memories become intertwined with the geography. Leaving marks on the landscape that can be shared with all that care to stop and see.

Record your story and make submit it here. We can build a collective of hidden stories together.

My Map

I am fascinated with google maps now. I only understand a few of the features. But I am intragued by combining geography and images. I started to map the places where I have lived. And also mapping where my favorite memories are located. I want to continue this geographic journaling so that I can draw a visual line to connect these places.I think it will look like a spider's web, or maybe a pattern. I am hoping to see where i can expand my boundaries.

View Larger Map

folllow me

Please draw on me

I've always wanted to be a tagger. But I'm too chicken to actually do it. So it's the perfect excuse when this assignment came along. I had the idea to post giant stickers that people would be invited in to draw/ color on. I had 3 thoughts when working through this idea...

1. This is a stupid idea, everyone will laugh (e.i- easter bunny).
2. Will I get arrested for vandalism?
3. Will people actually draw on them?

To my surprise, I got over being scared as soon as I saw the first sticker hung on a utility box. It was love! and people actually stopped and enjoyed taking time out to color. I have to try this again.

trying to reconfigure a corner of my life

It was a real challenge to choose one part of my space to reconfigure. I was envisioning being able to use the desk to sit and the wall to paint on.