Rice and Trains

Elaine Gan’s Considering Rice is described by Real Art Ways as an exploration of “the entanglements of storytelling and food economy through a dynamic map of one of the world’s most significant agricultural sites.” According to the USA Rice Federation, rice is the “primary staple for more than half the world’s population.” Oddly, there is a National Rice Month, which happens to be September, the only full month that Gan’s work will be on display in Hartford.

Gan’s blog About Manila serves as a preview of the show as it contains numerous photographs of rice terraces in Manila. This exhibit will be on display at Real Art Ways (56 Arbor Street) from August 19th through October 17, 2010.

This is not the only map art project in the area. Brian Cook, a local designer, has created the Hartford Metro Map. It’s futuristic! In his imagination, Hartford not only has a metro system, but one that connects Hartford to Boston, Albany, and Manchester Community College. Cook describes his project:

The Hartford Metro map elides several of my deepest interests: maps, travel, Hartford, urban planning and graphic design. I still stumble across old notebooks with sketches of imaginary maps, Utopian cities with concentric bands zoned commercial, residential, industrial, recreational, infrastructural, etc. The urban models usually feature perfect circles with wide boulevards radiating from vibrant city centers.

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To me, the biggest existing problem with Hartford’s public transit is the disconnect between the downtown area and the West End. I-84 effectively cleaves the city in half, both a physical barrier and a symbol representing the dominance of the car as the preferred method of transportation here.

If you’d like a copy of the Hartford Metro Map poster, you can pledge $25 to help fund the project on Kickstarter. After the printing costs are covered, any additional funds raised will be donated to ConnectiKids.