Project Description

The South Side Atlas: Spatial Investigations by Women and Girls examined the question of how women and girls perceive and navigate urban space. Taking as their immediate project the cognitive mapping of the South Side of Pittsburgh, next question explored the physical, cultural and emotional geography of the South Side, mapping it with other women and girls in a series of investigations. Documentation from the project was exhibited in SPACE 101 of the Brew House, an artist’s cooperative on the South Side from May 30 to June 15, 1997. The installation had multiple components reflecting the different parts of the project:

Audio Detour presented an audio tape of interviews with women and girls who lived in or visited the South Side as they discussed the politics of urban space. Gallery visitors could listen to the “tour” by putting their heads under a hair dryer or using a walkman while they viewed the installation.

next question placed small markers throughout South Side to commemorate the Personal Landmarks the women we interviewed had shared with us. A large map in the installation indicated where these markers were to be found, and accompanying written materials told the story behind each landmark. Visitors to the gallery could take a marker for their own personal landmarks.

For Carson Street Detectives, next question walked the length of Carson Street, the main street in South Side, with a video camera hidden in a purse. Using a computer, video taken using the purse was printed out into a long strip which wound around the gallery. Each block was marked, and comments on our experiences appeared alongside the visuals. Photos taken by Ellen Layland using the a camera in a backpack were also displayed.

Hula Hoop Motion Study was a video of women and girls using the hula hoop, which became a metaphor for women’s problematic relationship to urban space. A hula hoop contest was held during the show.

South Side Investigations was a project by girls from Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild. The took photographs of the South Side and gathered objects from the streets which they labeled and displayed in the show. They were responsible for planning and installing their section of the show.

nextquestion designed and printed Poetry Space, a chapbook of poetry by women poets of Pittsburgh. We also held a poetry reading in SPACE 101.