“Visionary Crosswalks – MTR” is a direct action crosswalk tracing the casual paths that jaywalkers regularly take when crossing Mount Royal Avenue, between Lafayette and Lanvale streets. After jaywalking across this block on a weekly basis – and seeing many others doing the same – I was inspired to investigate how a user-generated crosswalk might function within this latent zone of pedestrian traffic.
The overall layout is derived from the surrounding architecture of the plazas in front of Maryland Institute College of Art’s Brown and Main buildings. The Brown building’s diagonal layout opens up to Mount Royal Avenue, clearly suggesting a visual and pedestrian connection to the historical Main building. It no surprise then that students, professors, and workers are constantly cutting across Mount Royal Avenue mid-block. VXW-MTR is my attempt to both highlight this casual path to motorists, and “legitimize” the experience as a pedestrian.
Initially I promoted the work through the internet outreach and by distributing maps at Maryland Institute College of Art’s Fox 3 gallery during the “Mount Royal Pageant” group show. In addition to the street markings, I also brought a performative element to the VXW-MTR project through an embodiment of my “Construction Guy” character during the nighttime installation of the crosswalk. As a character Construction Guy serves three purposes: 1) to convince possible authorities that whatever I am doing in the middle of the night is legitimate, 2) as a personal/social entry point to the project for other pedestrians, and 3) as humorous acknowledgment of my role as the artist in creating the crosswalks.