Born on A Train
Toronto, Canada: AN/CN, 2015
8 pp., 11 x 17", tabloid
Edition of 1000
Born on a Train (& other Stories about Subways, Cinema and the City) is the second subway project offshoot from a film I'm working on called Substitute City (a title Philip Monk graciously allowed me to steal). It will be a feature-length film comprised of clips from cinema and television where Toronto is the location but not the setting. A kind of answer to Thom Anderon's Los Angeles Plays Itself.
Excerpts from the narration were previously published as a poster by C Magazine called Cinema is Not the Station, which was distributed at Villa Toronto, at Union Station in January. This longer text (approaching 10, 000 words) is accompanied by film stills from American productions shot at Bay Lower platform, one of the city's two "ghost stations", and images taken of the rarely-seen platform by myself and Lee Henderson earlier this year.
The newspaper name, USA TODAY - Tomorrow the World, repurposes my all-time favourite graffiti, which I saw scrawled on a newspaper box years ago. Echoes of Leonard Cohen's "First We Take Manhattan (Then We Take Berlin)." But here it refers to Toronto's regular role as stand-in for American cities (New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, Detroit), and international ones on occasion. Also, the logo helps suggest an actual newspaper, and USA Today is also the only paper mentioned in the text. Next to the American flag (and wire mesh trash cans for NYC), the USA Today newspaper box is perhaps the most common prop used to help Toronto appear as an unnamed American city.
The project was produced for Jess Dobkin's Artists' Newsstand (see tag for previous posts), where it will be distributed for free to commuters. I see it as a site-specific text. It attempts to tell the intertwined early history of cinema and the train, the portrayal of subways and stations, the use of Bay Lower for countless film productions, etc. etc. It can be read as individual articles, or as a continuous essay. It's somewhat timed that riders travelling west would be reading about Bay Lower as they cross above it.
The launch is set for November 19th, a week today, which will also be host to an event with New York collector Harley Spiller. More about that tomorrow.