The Story of This Place is a series of site-specific narratives that offer a portable audio soundtrack that guides the listener through a site with a fictional narrative inspired by real stories of the place’s inhabitants. They are fully realized only when experienced on foot by viewers in the original context, though the recording is also expected to drift through the circuits of personal audio into places far afield from this original view.
Charm City Remix is a set of narratives produced for the Mt. Vernon Cultural District of Baltimore, Maryland in 2008.
2. Peace and War, Force and Order: Bruno’s Meditation on Mt. Vernon Square
The Center walk, Peace and War, Force and Order: Bruno’s Meditation on Mt. Vernon Square, is a rather aimless promenade through the gardens of Mt. Vernon Place. An introduction to central characters, Jack and Bruno, it blends the historical anecdotes and architectural highlights that dominate historical tours of this place into the quotidian ritual of walking the dog.
3. East: East is West
The Eastward walk, East is West, follows Jack, the story’s protagonist, down East Monument Street, past the Center Stage Theater, the State Highway Administration, Dunkin Donuts and Professional Bail Bonds to end in the parking lot under the 83 Freeway. The title, East is West, is taken from the HBO series, The Wire’s, transposition of East and West Baltimore, as it separates the perceptions of people who live Baltimore’s geography from those who know it only through narrative.
4. Litany for a Parking Lot at the Edge Between Here and There
5. North: Life is Monumental
Litany for a Parking Lot on the Edge between Here and There is one of the few stationery pieces in the series. Facing Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center and the homeless shelter, Our Daily Bread, it asks the viewer to pause at the nearly surreal juncture between the history of affluence of Mt. Vernon Place and the complex of correctional facilities that extends to Eager Street and East Baltimore, which unfolds on the other side of these institutions.
6. West: Roads to Bosnia
7. South: Read, Riot, Race, Railroad …Lamenting Loss of Industry
8. Music for Returning from Places New and Too Familiar
Music for Returning from Places New and Too Familiar will lead walkers back to the Contemporary Museum along a route of their own choosing. Viewers should place it on a loop as they return to the museum.
copyright 2008 Kianga Ford
commissioned by the Contemporary Museum