Friday, June 09, 2006

The Tour is Over... but the blog will live

Hello to all of our readers. Our tour is over. We had a great time traversing the country, looking at each region/city/neighborhood with questions of the politics of place at the forefront of our minds.

We saw the same patterns of gentrification/revitalization of urban areas everywhere that we went, being played out in slightly different ways depending on the place. We saw public housing being torn down to make room for supposedly "mixed income live/work spaces." (starting in the mid- 500,000s) We saw banners lining the downtowns "live! work! play!" We saw parts of the country that were more neglected and in states of decay than we had thought possible in this country and were shocked at how obviously race and class played into these scenarios. We saw how easily history and public memory can be erased when physical places are destroyed and replaced with something new.

We saw people talking about the importance of place everywhere we went. We saw clear regional differences that do still exist in this country, despite the image of homogeneity that some people might have. There is a clear division between east and west coast, between coast and no coast, between the urban east coasters and the rest of the country.

We saw grassroots urban food production and the attempt to make cities greener and more sustainable in every city. We saw temporary and (semi)permanent physical spaces that encouraged critical thought/discussion and the opportunity for non-commercial, non-city-sponsored activities to occur. We saw art taking back sidewalks, abandoned buildings, and corporate billboards. Everywhere we went, we met people who were actively engaged in critiquing the dominant society and working on projects to create compassion and sustainability now.

We screened the film almost 30 times and only had to cancel one screening, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, when no one showed up to Internationalist Books. Getting in the car wreck on our way back from Lawrence, Kansas put a big damper on the way that we ended the trip. I spent about 2 weeks in bed recovering from a concusion and with back pain. I feel pretty much better now, although not 100%.

We had talked about continuing the blog as a forum for us to put up our thoughts about place politics in our daily lives. I am in San Francisco for the summer and might have some things to say about being here. Courtney will be in Denver, teaching kids at a summer camp and hopefully she will chime in sometimes too. Also, we have plans to make a revised (and better quality, technically speaking) shorter version of the documentary to be broadcast on Freespeech TV. We will be working on that in August, so if you are interested in finding out more about this project please get in touch with us. info@livingroomdocumentary.org

Thanks, Liz

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

way to keep it going. i'll try to chime in--i'm reading a rad book on knowledge production and sustainable agriculture, lots of stuff about place/space/identity/knowledge... props to the university of nebraska press.

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