The Bureau for Transgressive Tourism and the Acquisition of its Archives

VERIFICATION REQUIRED

3.21.15

The BTTAA

Mexico City, MX

 

The Bureau for Transgressive Tourism and the Acquisition of its Archives Presents: VERIFICATION REQUIRED

 

VERIFICATION REQUIRED is a document in three parts: Part A ( 1a ), Part B ( 2 ) and Part AA ( 2b ). The presentation of a correspondence between two of our members: BTTAA member 0426 and BTTAA member 0820.

 

Part A ( 1a ) is a series of ( hand written ) letters between the two members, asking each other to verify an outline of personal memories, greatly composed of names and locations, one period of time at a time. Each letter follows a strict format.

 

Part B ( 2 ) is a loose sequence of tourist-style photographs. While it is clear that the authors of these photographs are the same two people, the location where these photographs are taken is the main focus of the pictures. These photographs are without written information.

 

Part AA ( 1b ) presents photographic documentation of each location referenced in Part A ( 1a ). These photographs are void of people, yet labeled with written information.

 

Part A ( 1a )

A series of fifty hand written letters, two anonymous members of “The BTTAA” ( BTTAA member 0426 and BTTAA member 0820 ) ask each other to verify an outline of personal memories. Each memory is greatly composed of names and locations and outlines a single period of time in the member’s memory. All locations mentioned exist in and around New York City. The second member replies by “verifying” or editing the memory; adding, subtracting or editing names, locations and situations.

Heading each letter is the date written ( change dates? Mail takes time ), the member writing the letter and the location of which the letter was written. In the span of Part A ( 1a ) one of the member’s location stays the same ( Mexico City, MX ) while the other member’s location travels from New York City down to Austin, Texas.

 

The content of this lengthy document is void of emotion towards these memories. The situations are highly personal. The names mentioned repeat over and over, but without character development. Locations are stated without intimacy. The dryness of this document is employed to distract from the narrative of its content. Part A ( 1a ) is a correspondence in which two people rely on each other to validate their personal memory, exhibiting a vulnerability and co-dependence. The members rely on each other to validate their personal memories, which consist largely of people and locations, pitting intimate identity against collective identity in the form of relationships and locations.

 

Part B ( 2 )

The second part of the document is a series of tourist-style photographs. The format of each photo is loose, some including one of two people, but with the location of the photograph as the subject. The type of collective identity expressed in Part B ( 2 ) is very different than the sort in Part A ( 1a ). While in Part A ( 1a ), the content is thoroughly filled with names and specific locations, Part B ( 2 ) only exhibits two of the same people and a tangible disconnect between the authors and the location.

There is a stark visual difference between Part A ( 1a ) and Part B ( 2 ), but a strong throughline exists in the form of location. It is clear in Part A ( 1a ) that BTTAA Member 0426 is traveling south from NYC to visit BTTAA Member 0820 in Mexico City. While the photographs in Part B ( 2 ) are without location specificity, the content of the photographs ( in conjunction with the location specificity in Part A ) imply their location.

 

Part AA ( 1b )

Part AA ( 1b ) continues the medium of photography, but in a very different manner. The content of the photographs is strictly dependant on Part A ( 1a ), being that each photograph is of each location ( in and around NYC ) referenced in the first correspondence. ( Each photo includes a title, naming and concisely describing its location ( more full than in part a? zips included that weren’t remembered etc? )

The third part of this document can be seen as either a relapse or as an acceptance. It is either a ( less depraved ) confirmation of the importance / presence of communal identity in the intimate identity or proof of the inability to let go of a communal identity.

 

 

The Great Wall Archive 2013

// The Great Wall Archive, 2013-2014 / Statement //

The Great Wall Archive is multidimensional. It presents many potential narratives through the collection and exhibition of an excess of specific and seemingly arbitrary information. Its creative development was inspired by an interest in the ways we communicate with one another, specifically, the ways we communicate and understand value. We want to know what value looks like to other people and why. Currently, we are exploring this question through conversations with the BTTAA. Although much of this was conjecture initially, these conversations became the process of identifying entities who’s value is culturally indisputable. This list of valued commodities grew to include tourist destinations (historical monuments, theme parks, entire countries), leisure activities, antiquities and education.

External value systems make it easy for us to accept the importance of things without contemplating their personal and internal relevance. In these circumstances, art works have the freedom to act as tourist destinations do: stories, photographs, postcards and other documents validate the importance of the destination. The Great Wall Archive utilizes the viewers’ passivity in order to monumentalize the great wall restaurants. Through the use of quality materials, the archival medium and systematically organized information, the viewer is convinced of the archive’s validity.

Using The Great Wall restaurants as a means to explore some of these ideas is as logical as it is absurd. It may initially appear ostensibly trivial, but the stability of its content implies deeper and more complex concepts. The Great Wall Archive is able to communicate multiple, often varying ideas that shift and change through investigation. As an archive, the specific information and content proposes possibilities instead of making conclusive statements. The Great Wall Archive is an attempt to challenge the viewer to question their daily value systems.

                // Details //

The archive is to be developed through four equally necessary steps: research, acquisition, production and presentation. During this research, we chronicled twenty-nine Great Wall Chinese Restaurants, gathering their basic information ( address, phone number(s) and hours ) and their reviews on Yelp. These addresses were then plotted on a map of New York City and grouped into what we call “tours.” These tours are the action of visiting, taking a menu from the restaurant, a photo of the front of the building, completing our log and cataloguing the physical location with an edition number ( x / 29 ), adhered to the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.

We are looking to dedicate a room to the manifestation of this archiving of New York City’s Great Wall Chinese Restaurants. The installation will include a series of boxes, each the same in size and fashion, fabricated specifically for the archive. Each of the twenty-nine boxes will house the information acquired from it’s corresponding Great Wall Chinese restaurant: a page with the name of the restaurant, it’s address, hours and phone number( s ), the log we complete upon visiting, restaurant menu, yelp reviews and our developed photos taken of the front of the restaurant This information is transcribed via typewriter to separate, 8.5″ x 14″ identical pages. This transcription process evades any trace of authorship or singularity. The back of each page will be stamped with a custom stamp, bearing the BTTAA’s insignia and placed face-up in a uniform order.

We are looking to get one-half inch poplar boards cut and fashioned into boxes, 9 5/8″ x 15 1/8″ x 2 1/2″ in dimensions with sliding lids. On each lid will be bronze plaques stamped with the name of each restaurant and its edition. Each box will sit on uniform tables. The tables will be attractive, but only in order to draw further attention to the boxes that they support and elevate. The tables and boxes will be neatly and functionally organized around the installation room in order to allow for easy access to each box.

One wall of the installation room will brandish a large mural of the BTTAA insignia, which will be projected and traced onto the wall. On the adjacent wall there will be two copies of 40″ x 9.5″ typewritten master-lists of all of the great wall restaurants. On one copy, each restaurant is crossed out with the date visited written beside it and the other is kept clean. Next to the master lists will be a large, hand-traced map of New York City, with each of the restaurants plotted at their locations. Across from this wall will host ten hand-traced maps, each referring to the tours, which will be available to visitors as off-set print takeaways ( souvenirs ). The maps, master-lists, boxes, contents of the box and the edition number adhered to the sidewalk all serve as source materials which can be entered at different points, yet all reinforce one another.