Monday, October 13, 2008

Travels and Transfers

When we first began a project on the light rail system of southern Illinois, we were primarily concerned with creating short artistic portraits based on our travels. The idea was to present a collection of creative reflections and speculations about people’s journeys, as we did in our “First Time Travelers” and “Naps and the Light Rail" posts, for example.

The subway section of Colson Whitehead’s The Colossus of New York was a useful model for what we were doing.

Over the course of the past few months, however, our interests have gone in slightly different directions. We continue to produce the creative reflections. But we have begun to focus more on the politics of public transportation, the crucial St. Louis County November vote, and the value and values of public transit, and the cultural interactions and conflicts that arise in relation to light rail travel.

Attending the public hearings related to the Metro system really energized our political interests and helped us recognize the firm links between politics and public transportation.

We’re hoping that paying attention to artistic matters and the politics of public transit will give us special insight about the implications of light rail travel. Ideally, that cultural knowledge will extend our cultural knowledge concerning the region.

Image: View of Metrolink map at Grand station courtesy of H.R. from Along the Light Rail.

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