The Hudson River bike path is flooded with runners; a lane of midtown traffic is blocked by vendors pushing food carts; rideshare cars idle in every crosswalk, waiting for a hire. Cyclists roll through blinking “don’t walk” signs, leaving frightened throngs of people in their wake; longboarders sail up the middle lane of open avenues at midnight. Even rats lay claim to their share of the transportation network, crowding the subway platform as passengers wait for overnight trains. What we share in New York City is opportunism. We are keen to extend our lines of action deep into one another’s territories, enjoying those places where we’re inconvenient, unwanted, and dangerous.
Simultaneous uses coexist, confound, and conflict. Each circulator tries to delegitimize the other by getting in the way, amounting to an all-out war. As more and more people seek alternate forms of travel, there is a need for empathy in how we move through the city. Far from creating enmity, a multiplicity of flows can encourage greater sensitivity. Walkers, runners, skateboarders, pedicabbers, bikers, limousine, bus, and truck drivers, drone operators, kayakers, and swimmers can find ways to share the city, while feeling that their space is free and respected.
What contradictions of coexistence can we reveal in order to transform territorial aggression into a collective right-of-way?
Call for Entries
Space Invaders: Diaries of Radical Empathy invites all city circulators and mavens of transportation to compose and submit a two-minute video of radical empathy. Envision the city from a mode of travel you never take, or can’t stand to try. Or try to get from one place to another in the most unexpected or impossible way — swim to work, bike to the airport, kayak to dinner, climb a mountain to the post office. We encourage you to find an experience of the city, from a point of view you’ve so far never given yourself a moment to know, or even knew existed.
An interdisciplinary jury will select three winners — one first prize, and two runners-up. Winners will be highlighted on Urban Omnibus alongside City of Cycling, an on-going series examining the current condition of cycling in New York City and its implications for altering urban space. The first place winner will additionally receive a $1000 cash prize, and two runners-up will receive $250 each.
Alexander Levi and Amanda Schachter, co-principals of SLO Architecture, and Mariana Mogilevich, Editor in Chief of Urban Omnibus, will be joined by Judd Ehrlich, Danielle Jackson, Hatuey Ramos-Fermín, and Dr. Michael Smart.
- Judd Ehrlich is an award-winning documentary film maker. His recent film Keepers of the Game, about an all Native American women’s lacrosse team in upstate New York, was a New York Times Critics’ Pick and nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award. We Could Be King, about two rival Philadelphia schools, won an Emmy Award and Grand Clio Award. Ehrlich was also nominated for Emmy Awards for the Tribeca Premiere of Run For Your Life, chronicling the life and of Fred Lebow, founder of the New York City Marathon and the PBS broadcast Mayor of the West Side. Before film, Judd was a caseworker in NYC for Project Renewal, Homes for the Homeless and YAI.
- Danielle Jackson is a writer and consultant to art and media-related organizations. She is the co-founder of the Bronx Documentary Center, an internationally-recognized gallery and educational space that uses photojournalism and documentary film to create conversation on social change.
- Hatuey Ramos-Fermín is an artist, educator, and curator based in The Bronx. He is the co-founder along with Elizabeth Hamby, of meta local collaborative, a Bronx-based artist collective, and Boogie Down Rides, a bicycling and art project celebrating cycling in the Bronx. Ramos Fermin has organized projects and made presentations at a security guard training school, community centers, churches, restaurants, laundromats, as well as galleries and museums. He has mentored young adults at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Center for Urban Pedagogy, among other organizations. Ramos-Fermín has also participated in the Elizabeth Foundation for the Art’s Shift Residency, and The Laundromat Project’s Create Change Public Artist Residency.
- Dr. Michael Smart is an assistant professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers. His research interests include the influence of social and spatial phenomena on individuals’ transportation decisions, with a particular interest in how the built-environment affects alternative modes of travel, such as biking and walking. Dr. Smart’s current research explores the ways in which social networks embedded in particular neighborhoods of affinity — such as immigrant neighborhoods and gay and lesbian neighborhoods — influence the activity patterns of those who live in those neighborhoods.
The deadline for submissions is November 4, 2016. Winners will be announced November 16, 2016.
Submission Requirements, Terms & Conditions
- Entries must be no longer than 2 minutes, and the primary language of the entries must be English.
- Submissions must be made in the form of HD resolution files (.mov, .qt, .mp4, .mpg, or .m4v), uploaded to the Box link below. File names must include the first and last name of the entrant. Entrants must also submit a cover-sheet PDF or Microsoft Word document including the following information: title of film, first and last name, email address, phone number, mailing address.
- Submissions must be received by 11:59 pm EST on November 4, 2016. Late submissions will not be considered.
- Reasonable efforts will be made to contact the winner and runners-up. If the winner cannot be contacted, the organizers reserve the right to offer the prize to the runner(s)-up selected by the same judges.
- The organizers of this competition reserve the right to refuse any entry that contains inappropriate or offensive content. Organizers reserve the right to use submitted videos, in whole or in part, as well as the names and biographical information of any entrant, in promotional materials.
- Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Download the competition poster here to share with friends!
Read more in City of Cycling: Speed
NYC: Fast — SLO talks to David Trimble, founder of the Red Hook Criterium, about bike racing as urban spectacle.
NYC: Slow — Ryan Russo, Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, sits down with SLO to discuss Vision Zero, the city’s campaign to reduce accidents and traffic fatalities, and its impact on cycling.
Building Speed — In Germany’s Ruhr Valley, a project is underway to interconnect ten cities with the country’s first bike superhighway, the Radschnellweg (RS1). Public officials from the area explain how the idea became reality and share their hopes for its future.
Planning the Radschnellweg — Martin Tonnes, Chief Urban Planner for the Radschnellweg project, talks to Michael Smart, professor of planning and scholar of transportation within marginalized communities, about the nuts and bolts of a bike superhighway — and whether such a thing would ever be possible in NYC.