TrIP Biennale Day 11: Transit Map by Judith Zissman


For several years in my mid-twenties, the only dreams I had were transit dreams. I’d board a bus and it would break down by the side of the road. I’d be on a plane and discover it was headed to the wrong city. I’d stand at the subway doors and the train wouldn’t stop at my station. Every single night, my brain would find some new way to remind me that I really had no idea where I was going with my life.

Later, the dreams changed. For the next few years, most of the dreams took place in a large city. It wasn’t New York or San Francisco, the cities I’d lived in for most of my adult life, but some other city that my dreaming self knew well, a city which didn’t exist outside of those images. The dream city became more familiar to me over those years — when I was wandering the financial district or the arts district or the edges of the city that started to spread out with more green spaces, I always knew where I was in relation to those other parts of the city. Each street I walked or rode along in those dreams was situated, each belonged to a larger grid, each felt part of a place system. I started to make work about this city, an attempt to map a specific but unknowable destination.

In 2015, I moved to Orlando from San Francisco. I’d grown up in Winter Park and Longwood, but had left in 1988, when I was 17, and returned only occasionally to visit family. Exploring Orlando again after 27 years away was like visiting the dream city: wandering unfamiliar streets where I knew my location only in relation to the more familiar areas.

I signed up for TrIP to give myself a frame for looking at the city in new ways. To walk city streets I’d never walked, to ride a Juice bike even though I hadn’t been on a bike in many years, to see a landscape I’d mostly only seen as a child, mostly only through car windows.

My piece for TrIP layers the grids of these real and imaginary cities, making connections and patterns that are utterly idiosyncratic, a map of a transit, a transition to something new.


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