The Trek Project is a multi-faceted, multi-media project that examines the ways that people see themselves in a global context. The project was created follows 10 high schools students on the same community service trip to Nicaragua that I completed when I as 17 and documents the journey that occurs when people from the US travel abroad as well as all of the complicated dynamics that surround how people claim global citizenship. The piece takes an analytic lens to the aide tourism industry and the US-relationship with Latin America. The piece involved the creation and implementation of Mapping Workshops in the Spring of 2009 both in public events and also privately with the students that I traveled with. These workshops examined how people see themselves in a global context. Additionally, I have been working on a timeline that contextualizes the concepts that come up in the movie and examines the colonization and re-colonization of Latin America. The project culminates in the creation of El Trompo, the documentary that takes the viewer on a journey from New York City and Philadelphia to Gualacatu, Nicaragua. El Trompo seeks to complicate our notions of macro and micro global systems of oppression and examine both the good and bad ways that people experience aide tourism. Additionally, I have created curriculum for various age groups in both in/out of classroom settings to further engage with the topics brought up in the movie.  

 

The Trailer:

 

You can view the entire documentary (25 mins): https://vimeo.com/16940407

Helyx is available to screen the documentary as an interactive mapping workshop.  The following blog serves as documentation of the project process, it was kept from 2009-2010 during the peak of pre-production, production and post production.  

Entries in philadelphia (1)

UPDATE!

So I know that it has been a while since I updated, but the end of the semester was pure hell and I am just now recovering and getting back on my feet with this project. So here it is as it stands:

fundraising:
I have about 1200 dollars raised. Which means that I am still about 800 short, I will be applying for a do-something grant but I still need some way to make that up. Also buildOn has requested that I hire a translator to be one-on-one with me in Nica. This will be an additional $300 and so I agree that it is a good idea but it presents another part of the budget that needs to be covered.

the trip:
the dates of the trip are July 6th thru the 22nd, I will be somewhere near Esteli and close to Honduras again, but not in the Ocotal region where I was last time and the village primarily farms tobacco. The name of the village is Gwalacatu (I would love to look into the origin of the name). Because the name does not seem traditionally spanish one of the buildOn staff suggested it was potentially of indigenal origin, although to the best of my understanding there are few strong indigenous communities in that area of Nicaragua. Also I still need to make sure that all my vaccinations and medical things are in order before I go.

mapping workshops:
I completed my first mapping workshop on May 1st at the A-space in Philly and I will be holding my second one this weekend on saturday with the group of buildOn students who are traveling on trek from New York. There is also a third scheduled for the evening of June 24th (the day before my birthday ;-)) in Philly at the A-space again.

zine:
Ok, so this is probably what I am paying the least attention too right now, in the next few weeks I will be expanding on the research I did this semester and start creating a comprehensive timeline of US-Latin American relationships that will be the focus of the zine, which will also serve at the DvD insert. Also in terms of research I bought the Radical Cartography series of essays and maps at food for though books in amherst today and will be reading that to develop language and discourse around the construction of maps. I will be starting with the essay about the following map:

production:
I am rounding up equipment for production right now. Joe Gro, my friend is working on the solar charger and I am officially putting the call out to find low/no cost audio equipment to borrow for the trip because I would hate for the quality of the project to be diminished due to poor audio quality. I also need to order batteries and tapes soon so that I can receive them before I leave on the trip.