6. TEMPORARY TRAVEL OFFICE

2004-2012

The Temporary Travel Office was a performative tourism agency that used the vocabulary of tourism and hospitality to engage the politics of local and virtual places/spaces. The Travel Office produced guided and virtual tours, informational literature, proposals for public spaces, and other artifacts that trafficked in the aesthetics of commercial and educational tourism. Between 2004 – 2012 Ryan produced work as the Travel Office independently and on commission for various cultural institutions, venues, and festivals across North America. Below are a few examples of the Travel Office’s work, but more complete documentation and additional work can be found on its website.

TOURING OLYMPIA

2008
Performative tour; boxed 4-color saddle-stitch booklet; audio CD
With Sarah Ross
Touring Olympia: Exposition Park is an experimental guide book and audio tour of Los Angeles’ Exposition Park, the site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games. Set in an imagined 2030, this tour looks back at the year 2020, when the Olympics were permanently cancelled due to an athlete strike and financial bankruptcy.

Above: Touring Olympia guidebook and sample spread. Below: group tour of Exposition Park in Los Angeles and recreation of the last opening ceremony of the Olympic games.

PARKING PUBLIC

2002-2010

Between 2005 – 2010, the Travel Office produced a series of tours and documents that investigated the political economy of surface parking in the United States. One goal of the project was to highlight parking as a central feature—along with highways, roads, and gasoline infrastructure—of the automobile’s dominance in US urban planning. Another goal was to explore the role parking plays in the political economy of the nation through the mechanisms of speculative real estate investments and processes of gentrification and racial/class segregation.

[featured in Ben-Joseph, Eran, ReThinking a Lot (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012)]
[featured in an article by Emily Badger for The Atlantic]
[featured in Nicholson, Geoff, The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science and Literature of Pedestrianism (London: Riverhead Hardcover, 2008)]

Parking Public, SD video, 13:22, 2007.

Below: Images from walking tours in: Downtown Los Angeles (2005); Brooklyn, NY (2007); Hollywood, CA (2007 & 2010); Wrigleyville, Chicago (2010); Poster for self-guided tour of Hollywood commissioned by the MAK Center in Los Angeles (2013).

STORIES IN RESERVE

2010
4-color perfect bound book, audio CDs, website / mobile app.

Stories in Reserve is an audio tour book (commissioned and designed by the Travel Office) that features three self-guided audio tours of locations in North America by artists Sarah Kanouse, Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga, and Ryan Griffis/Lize Mogel/Sarah Ross.
Featuring:
America Ponds (a tour of Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge, Illinois, USA) by Sarah Kanouse
Dentimundo (a tour of dentistry in Tijuana, Mexico) by Ricardo Miranda Zuñiga
Siting Expositions (a tour of False Creek in Vancouver, B.C., Canada) by Ryan Griffis/Lize Mogel/Sarah Ross

BECOMING MOVABLE

2013
Website

Becoming Movable was commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2013 as part of their “Artists Respond” series, in which artists create digital projects in response to an exhibit or object in the museum’s collection. The Travel Office chose to focus on a fireplace mantel that originated in a historic home in a Chicago west side neighborhood–East Garfield Park. Becoming Movable is a virtual tour of that artifact, focusing on its how its existence tells a story about the creation of property and the uneven development of cities. Visit the project.

RIGHT TO THE RIPARIAN CITY (DOAN BROOK WATERSHED)

2013
Printed map, desk, custom nylon flags, miniature flags, clocks, booklets, stamp, virtual map

On the east side of Cleveland, OH is an 8 mile urban waterway known as the Doan Brook. It drains a land mass over 11 square miles, including the cities of Cleveland, Shaker Heights & Cleveland Heights. The Riparian City of the Doan Brook Watershed proposes a performance of the watershed’s boundary as both a political and ecological one, and invites both residents and visitors to imagine themselves as different kinds of citizens through a Temporary Embassy.
The Temporary Embassy was commissioned by Cleveland’s non-profit art space, SPACES for the 2011 Cleveland Convention and Visitors Bureau and financially supported the National Performance Network’s Visual Artists Network.