Publication: No Cruising: Mobile Identities and Urban Life

Posted on by Anne Jonas
Filed under: Art, Geography, Los Angeles

The first Global Urban Humanities research studio, “No Cruising: Mobile Identities and Urban Life” took place in Spring of 2014, co-taught by Margaret Crawford (Architecture) and Anne Walsh (Art Practice). With six PhD students, three MFA candidates, and one undergraduate student from a diverse set of disciplinary backgrounds, the course took on Los Angeles and the multiple themes generated by the concept of mobility (and its inverse: immobility). Over the course of the semester, students visited LA multiple times and explored the city via car, bus, light rail, walking, and running, focusing on the circulation of bodies, stories, designed forms, performance, identities, labor, opportunities, and relationships.

Street sign saying 'No Cruising' against blue sky background

Out of the studio comes a new publication documenting these projects, also titled No Cruising. Student essays are accompanied by rich images of urban life, archival materials, and maps that reflect the social, political, cultural, and environmental histories that shape current experiences of movement and entrapment within the city infrastructure. These projects upend dominant myths of the city (spoiler alert: people do walk!) and disturb established spatial arrangements through performance and imagined design.

Book cover for 'No Cruising,' - A drag queen in a leopard-print blouse stands in front of a train, fanning herself with a lacy fan

As the faculty advisors write in their introduction, “The No Cruising projects address human agency–transit activists, artists and gallerists, teenage drag queens, and Midwestern, Mexican, and Taiwanese immigrants–as well as monumental forms like the Watts towers and palm trees, and finally the expressions of invisible but potent agents such as seismic and spiritual force fields.” This beautiful publication weaves together distinct experiences across a landscape, offering readers a chance to dive into the many complex threads that make up life in this iconic city.

A man in a wide brim straw hat, his face in shadow, stands on top of a bicycle in a dark parking lot

Students in the course:

  • Ying Fen Chen, Architecture PhD
  • Sarah Cowan, Art History, PhD
  • Jason Fritz, Art Practice, MFA
  • Megan Hoetger, Performance Studies, PhD
  • Kathleen Irwin, Architecture, MS
  • Lee Lavy, Art Practice, MFA
  • Fabian Leyva-Barragan, Art History, Art Practice, and German, BA
  • Michelle Ott, Art Practice, MFA
  • Sabrina Richard, Architecture, PhD
  • Noam Shoked, Architecture, PhD
  • Alec Stewart, Architecture, PhD