The Dotted Line

Talk20 Presentation
at Boylin Cywinski Jackson
San Francisco, CA, USA


PechaKucha (ペチャクチャ)
Presentation of 20 slides 20 seconds each


Presentation, 2010


T Jason Anderson

The Dotted Line

Connecting Attractors of the US Cultural Landscape through Two Wheel Dérives.


IMG: Porter House

Architecture and the Camera have been embroiled in a love affair since their introduction. For many of us, an understanding of both place and space is shaped by photographs of places we may never go. I am not here to just show you my images of my motorcycle travels, but rather to entice you to visit these places first hand.


IMG: States

In 2004 my arranged ride to a friends wedding in Ohio fell through. A young architectural designer’s budget and such short notice provided no options. I needed to ride 600 miles to Upper Sandusky, Ohio.

This was the first few miles of what has now amassed to over 25 thousand miles, 40 of the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii, and parts of Canada.


IMG: Attractors

Most of motorcycle travels are with my wife, Tara, who has been a riding partner since college. Together we have been led by a wide variety of attractors across the vast US Cultural Landscape. Some Architectural, some Cultural, some Natural, and some purely for the lure of the road.


IMG: Alligator Alley - St George Island

We began our travels in earnest when I rode twelve hundred(1200) miles in 30 hours from New York to Fort Lauderdale to retrieve Tara after she finished a project there. Our plan was extremely loose but full of hope of seeing what America had to offer.

This first trip was a simple connecting of major Cities, our American version of the Grand Tour, but we often found that the moments in between our destinations were the ones we enjoyed the most.  We followed the edge of the Gulf, heading towards New Orleans prior to the natural and man made disasters that have since struck those coastal areas.


IMG: New Orleans

While we still debate the merits of photography we nevertheless struggled to capture our own first hand visions of the journey. Sometimes subconscious elements such as the defacto Mardi Gras beads show here, have managed to seep their way into our photographs.


IMG: The Dragon

This is the Dragon, 318 curves in 11 miles, just barely kissing the North Carolina border of Tennessee. The experience is the ride. Our photos expose the dilemma of failing to capture this experience. The act of stopping in order to take a picture interrupts the ride and negates the experience.


IMG: Longaberger Basket

Other moments were easier to capture. Our interest in mimetic architecture stems from the writings of JB Jackson. From Shark Heads in Florida to Rock Shops in Utah, we’ve stopped to catalog all of our mimetic architectural findings. We managed to capture the Longaberger Basket on an exceptionally eerie morning as it loomed above in the surreal fog.


IMG: Milwaukee Art Museum

Calatrava’s Milwaukee Art Museum resonated surprisingly well with both of us. The main reason why? The parking lot.

No matter how you enter the building, from the automotive underbelly or the pedestrian bridge, the experience involves contact with the serial section structural system, creating both an impressive interior gallery and a striking vehicular entry.


IMG: Devils Tower

Many site operated on a visual level, drawing us closer with their sublime charm from far distances. In the case of Devils Tower this was partially a long distance visual attractor, and partially due to hearing legends and tales in the areas leading up to the Tower.

As our trips have continued the amount of National Parks that are appearing on..


IMG: Yellowstone National Park

..our itineraries as attractors has grown significantly. Previously, Architecture and cities guided our way and parks filled the inbetween, but that appears to have reversed on more recent trips. The time required to explore these Parks grows exponentially when one looks beyond the areas that are designated as interesting.


IMG: Seattle Public Library

This does not undermine our interest in Architecture, but actually informs our approach to understanding buildings. The exterior of many buildings are the main focus of architectural photography, and a few specific areas of interiors are celebrated. The experiencing the vast openness of Seattle Public Library interior spaces and overhangs, made possible by the structural skin is quite rewarding.


IMG: The Grand Canyon

Many of the larger features of the trips have doubled as both destination and route. The Great Lakes, Route 66, the Grand Canyon, and many other elements have added to the experience of the ride as glimpses appear and disappear next to the road itself.


IMG: UNM, Albuquerque

It is perhaps fitting that we stumbled across Predock’s Architecture Building at UNM. As he often lectures just as much about motorcycles as he does about Architecture, we found ourselves staring out across our breakfast as the gardeners trimmed the plants to line up with the concrete pour lines of the massive building.


IMG: White Sands

The beauty of White Sands stems from its dynamic nature. The ever shifting dunes and the evolving ecosystem strike a delicate balance. The soaptree yucca grows up to a foot a year to negotiate the constantly advancing waves of gypsum sand. Every visit to White Sands will produce a different set of views and experiences from these ever shifting formations


IMG: Prada, Marfa

Prada, Marfa is essentially frozen in time. It holds elements from Prada’s 2005 Collection but will never open. Sealed doors and all, it will slowly degrade back into the landscape, thus allowing the decaying exterior form of the building to sharply contrast to the retail time capsule within.


IMG: Antelope Slot Canyon

Perhaps the most well know photographed areas are the most rewarding to visit first hand and see beyond the depth of the published photos. Many of these still hold suggestions, by sign or by guide, instructing when your experience is important enough to take a snapshot.


IMG: Arches

The vast network of our National Parks relies on a similar structure to indicate when one should stop and look. The pullouts and parking lots of our parks are essentially the attractors, with the views and vantages points becoming their subordinates. We consider the journey from pullout to pullout just as important as the prescribed areas of interest.


IMG: Badlands

The rules of not stopping without a pullout beg the question, is this not just as important? Is this not just as beautiful, sublime or picturesque? As the connectors, the roads, the paths are so important to our story, we were determined to find a method to document this fleeting experience


MOV: RT95/Glen Canyon

To answer the dilemmas of the Badlands and the Dragon, a camera is mounted to the motorcycle and takes a photo every 10 seconds. It cares not if the ride stops or starts, it captures the reality of each moment in identical fashion. Perhaps the moments on the dotted line, the points in between, can still be celebrated as much as the destinations.