Join me for a night of radical pedestrianism through Visionary Crosswalks in the Alley OOOPs! show at this year’s Transmodern Festival. Visionary Crosswalks is a direct action crosswalk tracing the casual path that jaywalkers regularly take when crossing Mulberry Street while walking down Tyson Alley along in the west side of downtown Baltimore. Colorful adhesive tape will alert motorists to the festival goers parading pathway as they walk to the D:Center at Maryland Art Place from Current Gallery and back. Serving as a voluntary crossing guard, complete with hand-made uniform, I will assist pedestrians as they enjoy their downtown art drift.
Only six months after the Arcade Parade, Holly Whyte Way is officially becoming a reality! This week the New York City DOT announced its proposal to connect the privately-owned public plazas and arcades that run from 51st to 57th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Since then, Community Board 5′ Transportation Committee has approved the plans for crosswalks, stop signs and warning markers that will alert motorists to yield to pedestrians moving along what will be soon be officially known as 6½ Avenue. Needless to say, Friends of Privately Owned Public Space is celebrating. Special thanks to Matt Chaban for his wall-to wall coverage of the development. More details below…
Last week I set up my first public art intervention in Baltimore. “VXW-MTR”is a continuation of the Visionary Crosswalks project I started in Bushwick, Brooklyn last spring. I set up the installation along Mount Royal Ave, between Lafayette and Lanvale, next to the MICA green. After jaywalking across this block on a weekly basis – and seeing many others doing the same -, this became the first public space in Baltimore I felt comfortable working within.
For this crosswalk I enhanced my original singular, neon-orange, over-spray design by drawing three parallel lines connected by corresponding “X” markings. The overall layout is derived from the surrounding architecture of the plazas in front of the MICA 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.
In addition to the street markings, I am also bringing an element of performance to my Visionary Crosswalks project through my inclusion of “G-Mack the Construction Guy”. G-Mack is the character which I embodied during the nighttime installation of the crosswalk. As a character he 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 this piece of slightly absurd direct-actionist, intervention art. Look out for future appearances from G-Mack, both as a construction worker and soon-to-be crossing guard!
Social Saturday at Pocket Utopia, May 24th, 4-6pm, come walk a visionary crosswalk
As part of Pocket Utopia’s ongoing “Social Saturday” series, I will screen video documentation of my interactive crosswalks on May 24th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
In addition I will also screen video and sound art by a few local artists featuring crosswalks and area street life; as well as entertaining internet clips dealing with crosswalks and pedestrian challenges.
The “Visionary Crosswalks Social Saturday” will be an opportunity to watch videos, hang-out, and foster discourse on the Bushwick pedestrian experience.
Pocket Utopia is an away-from center, off-center, exhibition, salon and social space run by artist Austin Thomas.