Saturday, October 2, 2010

Out of Towner and Some More Alternate Public History

Home from New York City. On the Subway, after chatting with the woman beside me a little about what trains were running where and when (track maintenance, whee!) ... she says "You don't strike me that you're from the City. Where are you from?" Too funny; 2 minutes of conversation, and she knows I'm not from NYC! Before I could ask her why she said that, our train had pulled into the stop, and she was gone.

Back in February (holy shit, the year has vanished...), I posted a link to Kymerica, a faux public history about a place that doesn't exist... except now it does, because it has sites and site markers and history. There is another, similar project called the I-75 project, that I found out about here, via a post from a Facebook friend (who says FB is useless?). The I-75 project, instigated and carried out by Norm Magnusson, places faux historical markers at rest stops along Interstate 75. The gist is a little different from the Kymerica project, in which an alternative universe is created through memorialization. The I-75 project challenges viewers by memorializing social and political ideas and commentary. I think it's pretty compelling, and I'd love to hang out by one of his installations for a while and see what people's reactions are. Brings up questions about memory, legitimacy, and significance. Does just sticking a historical marker at a place make it significant? Can you create history? If someone reads one of the signs, gets inspired, and then goes out and changes the world, does that then make that place truly significant? Apparently, several people who see the signs are unsure whether they are "official" or not, which makes me think that we have a LOT of public education to do.

1 comment:

squadratomagico said...

I love the i-75 project! Great concept!