Friday, April 08, 2005


Carrie Mae Weems, artist-in-residence this year at Syracuse University (SU), gave a talk yesterday about her project at SU. In her talk, she used the word neighborhood. That made me think about how big and how small our world is.

Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner -- in talking about the suffrage movement and Matilda Joslyn Gage, who lived in Fayetteville, NY -- has said that the social movements in the 1800s influences each other. Wagner points to a map of who lived where in the neighborhood as proof. Here in this house was someone who was involved in the suffrage movement, while over here was a known abolitionist, and over there was someone in the temperance movement. They knew each other and interacted with each other. They had to -- they were neighbors.

As I listened to Carrie Mae, I wondered if a online digital images exhibit (or even an interactive or multimedia exhibit) can give us a real peek into a neighborhood. Can it truly relay how and when people interacted? What their lives were like? Can it tell us how small and intimate their worlds were? And what about virtual reality? I don't know but, having given this some thought, I believe we should try.

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