"Wikireuse" by Julia Christensen

Posted by Turbulence.org | Mon Sep 8th 2008 10:45 a.m.

Turbulence Commission: Wikireuse by Julia Christensen

For six years, Julia Christensen has been creating a body of work about how communities are reusing abandoned "big box" buildings -- the large, free-standing, warehouse-like buildings made prominent by one-stop-shopping corporations like Wal-Mart and Kmart. In 2004, she made a website about the project at bigboxreuse.com. Wikireuse both updates this website and invites users to participate in its development. Nodes on a map of the United States catalog big box reuse at geo-coded locations; users can add to the map by sending in information and/or documentation about a reused big box building near them. Articles about big box reuse are also cataloged on the website, so the user can read local accounts in local newspapers from across the country.

Wikireuse is a 2007 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc., (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site. It was made possible with funding from the Jerome Foundation.


Julia Christensen is an artist and writer whose work treads the fine line between art and research. She is the author of Big Box Reuse, forthcoming from the MIT Press in November 2008. The book is a product of her ongoing investigation of how communities are renovating and reusing abandoned big box buildings. Curated by Astria Suparak, Your Town Inc., a solo show of Christensen's work, is at the Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University until November 23, 2008. This fall, Christensen's photographs will also be on display at the Carnegie Museum of Fine Arts as a part of the show "Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes." Christensen also lectures widely. She holds the chair of Luce Visiting Professor of the Emerging Arts at Oberlin College, where she teaches in the Studio Arts and TIMARA (Technology in Music and Related Arts) Departments.
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