In honor of the new spring forward, here’s another remix via Red Line D.C. This time, we left the film techniques behind to record our first-ever podcast with red line writer (and willing guinea pig) Nepal. As a featured participant in the video See Something, Say Something, Nepal was invited to share his feedback and feelings regarding part one of the documentary with its director and producer Saaret Yoseph. In an informal conversation between filmmaker and subject, the two talk about filmmaking ethics, the outdated “outlaw experience” and the red line ‘s future with D.C. Check out the chatter below …
* Podcast music composed by Timothy Morrison.
Open to the Public, Open for Discussion
Just when we thought we were alone, out here on the interweb, TBD’s On Foot echoes our efforts for public participation. Check out the pedestrian blog’s latest post with updates on our progress and read what blogger John Hendel had to say about the rough cut of part one in the Red Line D.C. series, See Something, Say Something. We’re so happy to have our words and visuals shared with new audiences. Let’s see what new conversations come of it …
WATCH: Random Acts of Expression, NYC
Videos have a powerful case of contagion online. If our Red Line D.C. reel is any example, multimedia is a great way to catch and share a glimpse of city life and everyday happenings, here in the capital or elsewhere in the world. In our personal travels across the interweb, we came across a recent YouTube video of a commuter’s experience with public art on the New York City subway. In this case, the unsanctioned art at work was an impromptu jam session (ukulele, included!) between alleged strangers.
The lively back-and-forth between songstress and drummer clearly held the attention of some passengers on the train, including mybs86, the user who posted the video and titled it “never a dull moment on the NYC subway.” Still, not everyone aboard was as impressed. Watch the clip and you’ll notice a couple heads low and a few eyes averting the disruption. Seems a lot like the mixed reviews we got from red line commuters about the graffiti and murals there to distract their ride. Some riders, like mybs86, were enthusiastic fans while others were ambivalent or outright annoyed by the unwelcome expression. Check out the video and tell us where you stand on graffiti, gratuitous concerts and other unsought transit distractions.
These past several weeks, as we followed Words, Beats & Life’s progress across the District, we’ve been absorbed in the process of creating murals and conversing about their value. The public discussions, and our subsequent blog posts, were mainly concerned with the product — good vs. bad graffiti, commissioned vs. criminalized work. The place, however, is an added and equally significant factor. In our ongoing research for Red Line D.C., we look to connect scenes of illegal graffiti and graffiti-inspired murals with the space they reside: metro.
As we explore how open-air art plays out in the community and among commuters, metro history and news about the neighboring Metropolitan-Branch Trail build context to the red line’s story. Besides helping to layer the experience of producing and consuming public art, the metro system is, itself, a vital sign of community engagement. You might remember our past interview with Michael Henderson, a local resident who felt that planned, public artwork is needed for a good quality of life. Well, Professor Zachary Schrag, author of The Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro, says the same about public transit:
A good transportation system doesn’t simply move people from one place to another — it also shapes the places it serves. (Washington Post 2006)
From afar, it might seem public art and transit have little in common, but communal elements are evident in both: shared space and mixed experience; concentrated efforts to consolidate opinions. Schrag’s expectations of D.C.’s public transportation have been repeatedly raised about its public art with recurring points about quality, inclusiveness and community input. For the making of Red Line D.C., documenting metro graffiti means getting the whole picture, the aesthetics as well as the environment. In our rapidly transitioning city, both are subject to change. And on the red line, what we see is just as important as where we’re seeing it.