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Hearing The Highway

By Rhizome


In the 1972 BBC documentary 'Reyner Banham Loves California,' the architectural critic pops an 8-track cassette into his car stereo and begins a guided voyage around Los Angeles. A pleasant voice directs Banham to iconic sites like the Watts Towers, while Banham directs us to the 'real' Los Angeles comprised of strip clubs and mini-malls. With the growing accessibility of audio distribution methods, from cheaply-produced CDs to podcasts, audio tours have become a prime vehicle for artists and activists. A new large-scale project entitled 'Invisible 5' explores the potential of such guides to critically engage space. Created by a collective of California-based artists and organizations, including Amy Balkin, Kim Stringfellow, Tim Halbur, Greenaction, and Pond, 'Invisible 5' presents the voices of writers, scholars, and activists telling the stories of communities and their struggles for environmental justice along the major North-South interstate in California. Starting this April, the tours will be available for download, so you can embark on your own guided voyage into the 'real' California. - Ryan Griffis

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