As her UC Davis graduate school thesis, my friend Naomi Adiv is walking the Amtrak Capital Corridor rail line between the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, the state's capital and documenting it. She was inspired by a 5th century English tradition called "beating the bounds," where, according to Wikipedia, the community in a parish would "walk the boundaries of the parish, to share the knowledge of where they lay, and to pray for protection and blessings for the lands." Naomi studies community arts and public space, and I think her project is an exciting hybrid of psychogeography, journalism, cartography, and performance art. Her blog is a raw feed of her photos and field notes. (She's not doing the walk all in one shot.) Naomi says:
In this project, I consider how we “beat the bounds” now... I plan to walk from one end of the region to the other along the tracks, exploring how a seemingly marginal space that seems to serve only as an “in-between” can really be ameaningful place with a life of its own. How do we come to know a place, and what does it mean to know a place in a way different from how its builders intended? Another way of stating this question: how does the experience of walking change one’s notion of a space produced to exclude human participation? How do we re-think and re-purpose landscape and landscapes through embodied practice in our daily lives?Link
In addition to walking and photographing and blogging, I'm working with artists from across the region to put up an art show in the spring in Davis, reflecting on the space of the railroad in the places where they live and work.