Clark Street, 2/3 trains

The process has begun!

I've sent out personal emails to friends and classmates over the last few days to begin gathering submissions to this original database of subway travel "blind spots." When Jesse Shapins visited our class, he stressed the importance of providing examples of what you will be collecting as a part of requesting other people's involvement. I can already tell that doing so will make a big difference in how my project unfolds.

Before sending my first requests, I sorted through photos I had already taken to determine which were most suitable. From 120+ photos, I whittled down to about 40 images from different stations in the city that I thought would be intriguing enough to show off.

I then created a Flickr group pool called "Underground, Overlooked" to serve as the master archive of selected pictures. To entice my friends, I used two photos (above and below) as examples of the types of "blind spots" I was looking for.

14th Street, 1/2/3 trains

Because I was contacting people with a wide range of interests and backgrounds, I did my best to ensure I wasn't too academic in my language. As much as I've enjoyed the class this semester, explaining the concept of urban media archaeology has been quite the mouthful!

People seemed to really respond to my likening this pursuit to a scavenger hunt and describing it as something that could break the monotony of our travel routines. One friend told me that she would try to seek out the 1967 engraving, as that station is part of her commute. I was so excited that I told her which platform it was on, but I'll keep that a public secret for now!

Another great response I received was from a friend, Tess Korobkin, who is an extremely talented visual artist and educator. She gave me this quote from art historian TJ Clark: "we find the public of an artwork in its blind spots." I hadn't previously heard of Clark but I resonate with the spirit of the public in his words.

I am drawn to the ways that the subway serves as "the great equalizer" for New Yorkers of various economic, ethnic, educational, and every other kind if background. It is my hope with this project (and the other projects I've made that deal with the subway - SMALLWORLDNYC and The Stranger Diaries) that the more we take the time to see the subway, the more opportunities we take to see each other as well.