curious, not creepy.

walk four – cocoons and engagement

i decided to take this walk in a place that has gone from a place of comfort to one of total disdain, the mall. i remember being like 13 and going to the park mall every weekend with my friends. that was the place to be at that age, and that seems to linger on for a few years. but at some point, it switched over for me. it stopped being a place that i liked going, instead i absolutely dread going. 

i was armed with my ipod for this walk, which happened to have crashed the day before and needed to be reloaded with music. i was at a friends house so he put on a bunch of music for me. all of which were bands that i liked when i was just finishing middle school and starting high school. so listening to bands like incubus [yeah, i know] really took me back to the time when i actually enjoyed being at the mall. while on my walk around the place, i became very interested in all of these things that i never really noticed before. i couldn’t help but stare all of the horrible southwestern art that could be found throughout the space.

i hate southwestern art.

so much hate.

and the attempt to bring in natural lighting into this very artificial environment.

faux light

but what i found really interesting was the big potted plants. 



this idea of bringing nature into totally fabricated, unnatural environments is a theme that has been popping up a lot lately. i know a lot of people working with this theme, and was able to see it a lot while at the mall. i found it to be a really funny juxtaposition of these plants against these brightly light, backgrounds with bright colors and photoshopped models.

i walked through the whole mall and had all of these thoughts about the space itself and didn’t really take into much consideration the people in it. which happened during the second half of the walk.

i’ve always been an eavesdropper, and the mall is totally the right place to be in to hear some really good stuff. its not that i am trying to be nosey, but i just really like seeing people in their element. when they are totally themselves because they think that no one is paying attention. people are so funny and don’t even really know it. so, when walking through the mall without headphones i couldn’t help but not smile and giggle a bit when people would say something funny or just ridiculous. the highlight being this: “now, learning how to say what color are your panties in Arabic seems way more important than anything else.”  that gem happened right outside the victoria secret, which may or may not be a coincidence. 

i also noticed how unwilling people are to make eye contact with you there. everyone was either looking at the person they were with or staring at the ground. there were a few accidental glances by some teenagers and they quickly looked away, the only people who actually maintained eye contact were those annoying kiosk people and the mall security. both of which make sense, since it is part of their job. but, it is still very interesting how people react when they make eye contact with you especially when you don’t look away. we’ve become very sensitive to this and can feel when it has gone on too long. 

it was a very interesting experience going back to a place i used to spend so much time in. this walk made me realize different things about the space that i don’t think i otherwise would have payed attention to.

here is the route that i took for my walk, 

park mall


this american life.
May 21, 2009, 8:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

oh, ira glass. i could listen to your voice forever. i’ve listened to the mapping episode of this american life a few times and each time it is different. it’s interesting how certain things can change meaning depending on when it is they find you again in life.  

this time around, i really enjoyed listening to ira talk about what maps are. essentially they are one person obsessively paying attention to one specific thing and ignoring everything else around them. this can be seen with ralph, the new york city worker who has to check the status of every sidewalk in the whole city. which seems incredibly tedious. but eventually becomes second nature to him. and then there is my favorite person in this episode, denis wood, who creates maps of his neighborhood.  


what i found to be the most interesting part of the episode was during his interview, when he says that he is trying to write a novel but only by using symbols. which got me thinking, isn’t that what all artists are trying to do? we could just write, but instead we use visual and performance elements to explain our ideas. though the above image just looks like a cluster of jack-o-lantern’s they have much more meaning then that. dennis goes on to explain that the pumpkins are more then what appears to just be an aesthetic look at his neighborhood, but more a socio-economic study.  

with these pumpkins, he did a study comparing the people who were more active in the neighborhood association and those who were not.  the pumpkins can be seen as signifiers of those who were more respected in the community as the people who are more renown had more pumpkins on their porch then their neighbors who were not involved, and also happened to live in the less wealthy portions of the neighborhood. 

its interesting to think that something as seemingly as simple as a carved pumpkin can say so much about the standing of an individual within their own neighborhood. but it certainly does make sense. it made me think back to the neighborhood in which i grew up, we didn’t have any kind of neighborhood association and we only knew three or four of our neighbors. during halloween, we’d never actually trick-or-treat around my house because there were never any pumpkins out, aside from the people we already knew. 

ironically, once i moved out i actually ended up in areas of town that have neighborhood associations which are very active within their community. even though i don’t attend the meetings or vote for new presidents of the association or anything, it’s nice to know that its around and that more jack-o-lanterns can be found throughout iron horse because of them.