Return to Artwork

Tourist was created to address how visual culture modifies our understanding of landscape and sense of place. The two modes of image making used here are mapmaking and the tourist post card. The post cards are free to the public to take and use as they would any post card. The subject for the project is New York City, specifically the area surrounding Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn.

Maps are connected to visual understanding in a way that is intellectual, emotional and, at times, even visceral. At a basic level, they are symbolic of finding one’s way. This map has been designed as a repeat (the same approach that is used to create wallpaper), and the neighborhoods bleed back into each other, repeating endlessly. The Map can be used to navigate within its perimeters but not to enter or exit the neighborhoods depicted. The repeating pattern thus is used as a metaphor for the limitations to class mobility.

The tourist post-cards that correspond to the map confront how much our experience of, or ideas about, a place are affected by how it is represented visually in culture. As with many highly visible cities, New York has locations, such as the Empire State Building, that are internationally recognized, while it has also locations such as Woodhull Public Hospital that are just as much a part of the city but are far less visible. The post cards for this project use the same format as post cards of the Empire State Building or the Manhattan skyline but feature these lesser-known sights. The sights from the post cards are marked on the map; you can find their location by looking on the map key.