Floating Museum

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Art in Mobility (the Floating Museum)

In a society of constant displacement, how do art institutions adapt? How does urban mobility transform public space? How can art institutions design actions to incorporate a society in movement? How can they create a place within this space, and a role in the periphery? How are sub-societies connected in the urban periphery?

The Floating Museum was born out of the “Floating Lab Collective,” a group of artists in the Washington DC metropolitan area, who find the scope for their reflection and creation within public spaces. The Floating Museum was conceived as a mobile space derived from our experiences in the context of the city.

The Collective sees “mobility” as existing in the context of the Washington DC metropolitan area within certain socio-economic parameters. First, mobility is a key component of the immigrant condition. The very presence of immigrants provokes a series of social and spatial movements, and their movements transform the urban landscape. Some examples of immigrant adaptation include taco trucks and pupuseria trucks that move between construction sites, foot paths created by immigrant commuters where sidewalks are not provided, and community centers that form a nucleus of social services and programs. In addition to exploring the effects of immigrant mobility in the city, we examine “commuter culture.” Commuting from the suburbs can be seen as a reactive perception of urban spaces as aggressive and troubled. Commuter movements such as traffic patterns have transformed the structure of time and space in the city.

Urban Structure
As the city is decentralized into sub-centers, the ideas of city, center, and periphery are absorbed into the idea of “metropolization.” Particularly visible is the adaptation of public space in zones mainly populated by Latino immigrants. These communities fragment their relationship with the center, only maintaining connection economically through their jobs.

Public Spaces
Public spaces in DC are static and resistant to adaptation. Nevertheless, immigrant communities in the periphery have concentrated according to region of origin, and effected changes in their new environments. Immigration has become a catalyst for the recreation of public space in the Washington DC area. The diaspora environment exists as a comfortable and familiar space for participation, empowerment, adaptation, and/or transformation.

Floating Museum/Mobile Media
The Museum is a response to urban mobility and the concept of the “commuter,” specific to the metropolitan area of Washington DC. The Floating Museum symbolically transforms a truck, normally used for selling tacos, into a moving museum. It functions under the premises of accessibility, participation, pertinence, roaming, and integration of displaced communities. The Floating Museum disperses ideas, constantly adapting itself to the urban environment. It moves concepts from abstraction into tangible form, becoming a platform for the interchange of experiences.