Friday, July 20, 2007

Anywhere is Everywhere

The Flux Factory project in Paterson, which I participated in for the last month and a half, finally settled on a plan for a monument to Paterson, the city. What you see here is the plan of a walking-path, created by imposing the design of a spiral on the city (nods to Smithson’s Spiral Jetty), and then tracing the streets that the spiral intersects. During the meetings leading up to this particular solution, I would get tired and headachy because it seemed like the initially proposed paths were so inclusive and conceptually vague that I felt it would be better just to go to the gas station, buy a map of Paterson, hand it to the mayor and announce “here is your monument!” This path is still overwhelming, especially because of the territorial nature of neighborhoods in Paterson . . . people don’t usually cross into areas they “don’t belong” . . . not to mention its sheer length. Regardless of whether the path has the powers to somehow wear away these invisible borders, I think it can at the very least be a good template for an urban mapping project a la Yellow Arrow or Google Maps, with anybody able to input data for points along the path. Also, to create a more palpable, virtual sense of a monument that strains even the most dogged psychogeographer’s good will, there will be a mini-version that can be placed on the floor of the museum or other space in Paterson. In much the same way that medieval labyrinths provided a place for pilgrimage when actual trips to the holy land were difficult to realize, this unicursal floor maze will provide a way to think about the territory and the map in dynamic relation.
Click here for Patersonian Don Kommit’s poem commemorating the project.

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