This past summer, Lilia Walsh, who is the 2009-2010 intern in the Archives & Rare Books Library, took an Honors Seminar at the University of Cincinnati entitled Envisioning the City. The focus of the course was how artists, writers, cartographers, photographers and others have visually portrayed cities from the 15th century to the present, using the holdings of ARB’s rare books collection and its Urban Studies Collection. One of the experiential assignments given to the students in the seminar involved the practice of “lurking.”
In lurking, each student was given some money and assigned a restaurant or coffee shop in which they had to “lurk” for a couple of hours, buy a meal or a cup of coffee, and record their surface impressions of the clientele, the surrounding neighborhood architecture, the social and economic status of the neighborhood, the various conversations in the restaurant, the décor and ambiance, and the types of food on the menu. Each student was given a different neighborhood of Cincinnati, the intent being to create a generalized cultural portrait of the city and how it functions around one of humankind’s basic needs: eating.
Ms. Walsh was assigned Camp Washington Chili. She created a PowerPoint presentation of photographs she took along with her lurking notes. What she demonstrates here is just one 21st century example of how the urban environment is viewed – the images, the talking, the life.
Lurking at Camp Washington Chili (MS PowerPoint® presentation)
– Kevin Grace