Thursday, April 19, 2012

For April 25

In place of the printed readings, I'd like to jump to some meditations on some forms of "practical" tourism, since we are proposing some tours of our own (even if just amongst ourselves). There have been many efforts to mobilize tourism in instrumental ways, what Dean MacCannell has taken to calling "moral tourism," and you may have heard of several variants, such as eco-tourism, toxic tourism, voluntourism or edutourism.
The first reading is by a scholar named Phaedra Pezullo, who wrote a fantastic book on toxic tourism. Here she discusses tourism in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The second reading is a choice of either:
this New York Times piece on a gang tour in Los Angeles
this audio-tour project by an artist collective in the UK
What I think is useful to discuss here, is the (attempt at the) production of tourist experiences that have intentions other than simple leisure or play. In fact, they have explicit aims to take on subjects that are explicitly difficult, while fully embracing some traditional ideas of touristic experience, such as sightseeing and narrative guides.
Don't worry about posting anything in the forum, just have some thought and questions in response and ready for discussion.

*Also, remember to have some sketchy plans for your final project and how some materialization (a tool, set of instruction, some kind of "pointing" device) can be produced for our "kit."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just a reminder

That tomorrow we'll be discussing everyone's response to the prompt to look "beyond" a boundary in some way. This could be in keeping with the boundaries of C-U (or related spatial understandings of "this place") that everyone addressed last week, or they can also bring in an additional understanding of a different border or boundary. The important thing is that we're looking at boundaries as delineations of an interior-exterior, known-unknown dialectic and proposing ways to learn, know or encounter what is "outside."

Monday, April 9, 2012

For Wednesday, April 11

As we discussed in class last week, everyone (either as individuals or a small group) will bring in a response to the boundary that defines C-U. No format restrictions and no set definition for the boundary that you should respond to.
We'll use these as a way to further our discussions of final projects.
Some related links (via artists that once inhabited C-U):
Nick Brown's Champaign Grid Tours (2003) & One Square Mile (2003)
Bonnie Fortune's Metropolitan Habitat (2011 - not in C-U)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For April 4

1. The Gregory Ulmer reading: Metaphoric Rocks: A Psychogeography of Tourism and Monumentality
2a. Check out the links and ideas in the post below this one.
2b. Discuss these and your own ideas for a collective tourism intervention/project
3. Take one of the walking itineraries produced by the other groups - necessary links below (forthcoming!)
+ Lindsey, Hana, Jessica & Paul: Cemetery [Google Map + audio]
+ Eric, Alexis, Becca, Nibia: Cemetery [Google Map + Printable map]
+ Sam, Britney, Danielle: Art & Design's Bulletin Boards [audio]
+ Tyler, Shannon, Jessica, Helen: Bar Crawl

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thoughts for larger, collective projects + custom maps

For making your custom Google maps (for the walking/virtual tour exercise): You can find information here. If you get stuck on something, let me know and I'll help you with it. Check out the links on the schedule page under "day 9" for some projects and other things related to embodied and virtual experiences of place/space.

For the future:
What I'd like us to do following the walking/virtual tour exercise is develop either a) one project, with multiple parts, that the class produces collectively OR b) a suite of a few projects by small groups that we can bring together somehow.
The goal for these that I'm setting is that they should use the experiential/theoretical methods of tourism (including art/critical tours) that we've been discussing in service of exploring aspects of our locality not widely accessible already.
Some links for potential subjects:
James Lowen's research on Sundown Towns in Illinois
Chicago Torture Justice Memorial
MLK Jr. Park proposals for City of Urbana
Interurban Rail History
Research Funding and the University
Boneyard Creek

Some ideas for form and method:
Pocket Guide to Hell Tours: Haymarket Reenactment & University of Chicago's Hidden Histories
Spectres of Liberty
Bureau of Urban Secrets' Tour of the Presidio
The Futurefarmers' Politics of Play
Rebecca Solnit's Infinite City (I'll bring a copy of this to class)

Some basic research tools
UIUC Map Library collections
Image above from Solnit's Infinite City

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Soundseeing Exercise

Perform in small groups or on your own before our next meeting on March 7.

Some projects to view/consider first:
Make notes immediately following each step (these can be in the form of writing, audio recording or any kind of mark making).
Part 1: Ear Opening
Go to the first location on the map: The open space between East of Temple Buell Hall and South of the Bell Tower.
Stand still and close your eyes for a couple of minutes. What is the quietist sound you can hear? What is the most distant sound you can hear? The closest? How big does your soundspace seem? What sounds of your own body can your hear? What is the mix of human and non-human sounds?
Pay attention to sounds that travel through your listening space, as you might watch visual phenomena. Try to notice a sound just as it becomes audible, and follow it until it is barely perceptible. What kind of information does this sound convey about what is making it (how fast is it moving, how big is it)?
Consider what prior knowledges you bring to your listening. When you recognize (or think you recognize) particular sounds, how do you attribute meaning to those sounds?

Part 2: Hearing Front/Back Regions
As you walk to location 2 (try to walk alone, or at least without talking to others): Try to distinguish between sounds that designate a "front" or "back" region. Which sounds do you imagine are functioning in a "public" way? Which sounds seem to be intended for "private" or limited consumption? What sounds tell you something about the workings of a place (or part of a place) not accessible to vision?

Part 3: Acoustic Territoriality (From Front to Back)
As you enter and walk through location 2, observe the audible changes in space and their impact on your perception of the space. Do certain sounds attract or repel you in going further? What do the specific sounds that are present tell you about the space? Are some spaces unified (or, alternatively, distinguished) acoustically? How does what you hear relate to what you see? Are there contrasts?

A Historical Narrative for Location 2 (The UI Histories Project)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Virtual Divides: Biometrics, Borders and Bodies, March 6 lecture

This should be very good and is a topic closely linked with our discussions on territoriality.

"Virtual Divides: Biometrics, Borders and Bodies" by Javier Durán, Associate Professor of Spanish and Border Studies, University of Arizona

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 7:30 P.M. Levis Faculty Center (Third Floor) 919 W. Illinois Street, Urbana

This paper analyzes the reconfiguration of state power into new immaterial forms such as virtual and biometric borders, and the impact of this reconfiguration in the cultural representation of migrant subjects and transborder communities. It attempts to elucidate what happens when security mutates from an abstract notion to a series of practices that become part of the nation-state’s dominant discourse. Drawing from what Muller (2008) calls the ‘dispositif of security,’ the first part discusses some interconnections between the biometric state, the culture of securitization and the growing perception that borders are becoming quasi-permanent states of exception. The second part establishes connecting lines between visual securitization images and other recent representations of the biometric border in popular film and narrative using a detailed discussion of the film Sleep Dealer (2008) as a primary example of these interconnections.


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