#BusLineHeroes: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 18

Part 1: Becoming the Change This week, I’m stripping it all back to the bare tacks: I’m grateful for the stories I’m able to tell. @BusMapProject was a bit of tactical urbanism, a modest gambit to capture a global moment when participatory data and collective mapping were becoming en vogue, in the service of a sociotechnical artifact that was very much not—and in doing so, it was a lot more than that. It was an attempt at re-writing a story that Lebanese people told themselves about themselves. In place of chaos, we wrote of everyday ordering; instead of lawlessness, we … Continue reading “#BusLineHeroes: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 18”

Domesticity: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 14

Part 1: The Grandview I’ve not been able to shelter much in place during this crisis, but every time I get the chance to stay home, I enjoy the domesticity. To have this place to take shelter in as my work hours begin to stretch longer into the night—to still afford to make rent when many will not, come April Fool’s—is a privilege I don’t take for granted. It’s not just that I’m grateful to be housed; I actually love this apartment on the edge of Amazonia. I love our high ceilings and these walls of some mystery blend of … Continue reading “Domesticity: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 14”

Creative Clusters: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 8

Part 1: Artpop, Inc. I’ve been listening to a lot of Lady Gaga since she popped up on my playlist on Valentine’s Day. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to anything as infectiously positive and carefree; I’m especially aware of this because, two days prior, I attended an art-based workshop where they asked us to share a song that we turned to when we wanted to lift our spirits; I couldn’t think of any. There was a time when it was strangely meaningful to think that Lady Gaga and I are the same age. Looking back, I now feel … Continue reading “Creative Clusters: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 8”

NYC: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 7

Part 1: The Grid “Nature is man’s inorganic body, that is to say nature in so far as it is not the human body. Man lives from nature, i.e. nature is his body, and he must maintain a continuing dialogue with it if he is not to die. To say that man’s physical and mental life is linked to nature simply means that nature is linked to itself, for man is part of nature.” (Marx) When I first arrived in NYC, I didn’t even know what a “block” was. I’d heard it used in dialogue in movies and such, but … Continue reading “NYC: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 7”

Beirut: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 3

Part 1: The Writers This is ‘Floating Woman’ by Joe Nix. As soon as I stepped into Jupiter and saw this on the wall, I thought: “It’s Raneem!” I even said it out loud. The resemblance would have been shocking if I hadn’t seen it before; there’s a mural in Gemmeyze that also looks just like her. “Apparently, Raneem-looking people are muses.” Christine should know; she’s painted her too. Raneem and I first met when we were both searching for inspiration. She had a blog & so did I; we left a comment or two, exchanged messages, & agreed to … Continue reading “Beirut: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 3”

Riders’ Rights: Registered!

In July of 2015, @farajchadi and I started something in Lebanon that we called @BusMapProject. We wanted to ask a simple question: “Do you know that there are buses in this country?” For four years, we came up with new ways of asking that same question; making friends, building alliances, pushing forward, falling behind—but always, always supported by so many companions along the way. We’ve finally managed to register our NGO in the National Gazette, after several attempts. This means that we can finally build a sustainable platform for our rider-led transit advocacy. We almost stopped believing that this would … Continue reading “Riders’ Rights: Registered!”

Neighborhood Exegesis: Little Saigon/Atlantic, Seattle

I did a quick “walkabout” yesterday, around the peripheries of Little Saigon and Atlantic, down to the edge of Hiawatha Place and back to St. Peter’s Episcopal Parish on S. King St, as part of our parish visioning process this year. I took dozens and dozens of photos, and soaked in the sights, sounds, smells and sensations along the way. I turned corners for the first time; I felt my body tense up and relax as it passed through jarring disparities—my sense of walking in the midst of colliding pressure systems heightened by the gathering storm clouds overheard. I saw … Continue reading “Neighborhood Exegesis: Little Saigon/Atlantic, Seattle”

We Are One

This past Saturday, I went through a rite of passage called reception, in which I was made a formal member of the Episcopal Church and the global Anglican Communion. There were hundreds of us there, milling about St Mark’s Cathedral, with lots to remember and do; and still, I couldn’t help but notice these vibrant and intriguing paintings lining the back walls of the sanctuary. There was something almost liturgical about them; I made a mental note to come back and get a better look. The last time I saw artwork in this space, I had just arrived to this … Continue reading “We Are One”

Tender Touches: Cornish’s BFA Expo 19

Here’s are some thoughts from my favorite pieces at the Cornish College of the Art’s BFA Art and Design Expo 2019: # “You Never Left” A sense of tender vulnerability cuts across many of the works in this show; a good number express this vulnerability through the elevation of domestic space, familial memory and quotidian craft. Here is one example: @stupidstinky’s sculptures and embroidered works are an invitation into a gentle and generous intimacy that feels far from self-indulgent. The works approach the universality of good storytelling, and the sheer amount of artful “clutter” on display is a delight. # … Continue reading “Tender Touches: Cornish’s BFA Expo 19”

Memory and Place and Monument

I was moved by Trinh Mai’s tender and careful artworks; in her statement, she writes: “Art is the channel through which I connect my spiritual to my earthly existence…For me, it has made the intangible tangible and the unseen visible, and at times, offers comfort in the seemingly unbearable. It is my form of study and prayer…” Mai’s is one third of a ‘triptych’ of exhibits organized by @uwgradschool called ‘Memory and Place,’ showing until May 3 at Gould Gallery. ‘Memory and Place’ also featured the work of Studio Zewde. The exhibit explores the idea of the memorial as more … Continue reading “Memory and Place and Monument”