Ian J. Whitmore’s Onomasticon: A Vocabulary for Nowhere



Between September 5-30 Cityscope and Ian Whitmore are exhibiting the book series, Onomasticon: A Vocabulary for Nowhere in the bSIDE6 building (528 E. Burnside St).

Whitmore’s Onomasticon: A Vocabulary for Nowhere presents a new lexicon for these ubiquitous, yet abstract spaces. Onomasticon is a series of 26 artist books. Each book pairs a single word with corresponding imagery inspired by a prevailing sense of non-place in contemporary American urban and suburban landscape.

Onomasticon has been exhibited, partially, in recent years using straight forward and traditional methods of displaying artist books utilizing vitrines, tables and shelves. Most of these methods of presentation offer visitors the opportunity to engage with the books physically. This element of direct engagement is essential to the experience of these books. These books are produced by Whitmore specifically for exhibitions so they can be handled providing a cogitative experience through of unfolding, refolding, page turning and tactile exploration.

For this exhibition Whitmore employs these methods of display while also addressing the specific form and function of certain books through the building of custom shelving and tables where possible. The exhibition functions as an engagement with the public to engender conversations about place, civic design and citizenship.




Book exhibition viewing hours at 528 E. Burnside St:

Friday, 9/5
Onomasticon opening reception

Monday, 9/15
(before The New Structure talk)

Fridays, 9/12-9/26

Saturdays, 9/13-9/27

Tuesday, 9/30
Closing reception


The artist is also available by appointment. Please email contact@ianwhitmore.com or info@projectcityscope.org


Artist’s website: http://ianwhitmore.com/







Photography by Robert Duncan Gray

Posted: September 16th, 2014
Categories: General Interest, The New Structure
Comments: No Comments.

Linda Austin, Pat Boas, Linda Hutchins: Tracing Movement, Chasing Marks, Tracking Sound

Project Cityscope presents The New Structure

Monday, August 18, 2014 // Shout House, Portland, OR

Linda Austin, Pat Boas, and Linda Hutchins have been collaborating to explore what happens when drawing is placed in a visibly time-based context and ritualized as record and residue of movement.  Dancer Linda Austin and visual artists Pat Boas and Linda Hutchins collaborate to explore what happens when drawing is placed in a visibly time-based context and ritualized as record and residue of movement. Together they have exhibited drawings and have used Wieden+Kennedy’s lobby as a laboratory to develop our series of performative wall drawings, The Word Hand, which will be presented by Performance Works NorthWest October 23 – 26, 2014 as part of their Alembic Co-Production series. For The New Structure, the artists present glimpses of their collaborative process and discuss the role that space plays in their work.

Photos by Robert Duncan Gray




















Posted: August 19th, 2014
Categories: The New Structure
Comments: No Comments.

Lisa Ward: Useless

Project Cityscope presents The New Structure

Monday, July 28, 2014 // Shout House, Portland, OR

Lisa Ward presents a collage of voices, music, video and other visual media as a means of exploring the drive to find human uses for economically useless land. Beginning with the platting of the Western states, the performance will touch on the legacy of the Small Tract Act of 1938, the impact of California’s Senate Bill X1-2, and other interventions on open land in the West. These historical snapshots, taken over the course of the last 200 years, will be juxtaposed with Indigenous patterns of land use over many thousands of years. At the heart of this presentation is the fate of our quickly diminishing open space, what we choose to put in it, and whether open space can be seen as a resource in and of itself.

DSCF1035 DSCF1034 DSCF1033 DSCF1031

DSCF1089 DSCF1075 DSCF1088 DSCF1086 DSCF1079 DSCF1084 DSCF1080 DSCF1081    DSCF1074 DSCF1050


DSCF1166 DSCF1153 DSCF1151 DSCF1145 DSCF1142 DSCF1129 DSCF1112 DSCF1103 DSCF1099

Posted: July 29th, 2014
Categories: The New Structure
Comments: No Comments.

Allison Cobb: What is public space?





Let’s not be poetic. Public space in capitalist culture is that which has no profit potential because it is not privately owned.

“Public” and “space” both come from the Latin of the Roman Republic. Men gathered in a public space to express their sovereignty by debating issues and voting.

Public means “of the people.” Space is more amorphous. It implies just “there,” an area or extent, but also a stretch of time. Limits are embedded in the idea of space. It is provisional—it is only so large; it doesn’t last forever.

Public space is especially provisional in capitalist culture. As an ideal, it is core to democracy. In reality, it is external to the system of value, constantly vulnerable to conversion to profitable use.

But public space still plays an essential role in capitalism. Because it is external to value, public space becomes the repository of all things that the actors of capitalism consider worthless—what they want removed from their equations. In other words waste, pollution. Economists call these “externalities.”

The open ocean is public space. The air is public space. The climate is public space. See how they are all trashed?

What else?

The medical profession considers the human digestive tract from mouth to anus to be external. It takes in the outside world. You have a tube of public space running through the center of your body.

You also have police. The tiny universe of bacteria swirling in your guts makes sure that bad stuff doesn’t cross the border into your body.

But isn’t it clear that borders are porous? The limits of space are illusion. Space itself is an abstract concept, developed to handle other abstractions like public and private, property and ownership.

In the world where we live as organisms, abstractions melt with the increasing heat of our climate. Where will you live besides here?

Your police cannot protect you. Bacteria recognize threats they evolved with, not substances created in the last sixty years. The outside floods in—through your lungs, your gut, your skin.

Wealth also cannot protect you. Certainly, the wealthy have always channeled their waste toward the bodies of the poor. But industrial chemicals touch every corner of the planet. You probably have a few hundred of them circulating through your bloodstream—gasoline byproducts, pesticides, plastic additives.

No high enough fence exists. But I could think about a different response. Public space is where revolutions happen—the streets of Paris, the march on Washington, Tahrir Square.

I could start here, at the center of my body. What if I understood myself, and everyone I love, as part public space? A dumping ground for the externalities of capitalism?

Doesn’t that make me grounds for a revolution? Wouldn’t I want to transform the very concept of value, which means “price equal to the intrinsic worth of a thing,” but comes from the Latin word for strength and well-being? Wouldn’t I want to take the most radical care of everything we share?


ALLISON COBB is a poet and writer working on a book called Plastic: an autobiography that involves collecting and labeling plastic she finds in public spaces.

Posted: June 20th, 2014
Categories: General Interest, What is Public Space?
Comments: No Comments.

Lead Pencil Studio: Dark Corners/High F/Mannequins/Ugly/Downer Boxes

Project Cityscope presents The New Structure

Monday, June 16, 2014 // Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, OR

In an unconventional format for this artistic team, Lead Pencil Studio’s Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo will present a series of parallel theories using noise, words, images, objects and actions to describe an alternate reading of the city. Split into thematic chapters, the talk will variously address the joys of upending distinctions between architecture, art, landscape, culture and history – for pleasure and intermittent seriousness. Please join them for this unique evening of interbred ideas intended to augment reality and expand the boundaries of a post-office practice.















All photos courtesy of Robert Duncan Gray

Posted: June 17th, 2014
Categories: The New Structure
Comments: No Comments.

Garrick Imatani & Kaia Sand: The Watcher Files

Project Cityscope presents The New Structure

Monday, April 21, 2014 // Shout House, Portland, OR

For Project Cityscope’s series The New Structure, Garrick Imatani and Kaia Sand presented a talk on The Watcher Files Project, a collaboration that has emerged from their shared artist residency at the City of Portland Archives and Records Center, commissioned by the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Their project engages surveillance documents the Portland Police Bureau kept on over 300 activist groups in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. In collaboration with activists surveilled in the files as well as other artists, they are creating a series of artistic and literary interventions that served as an addendum to those original files, a way to talk back and infuse the official accounts with unrepresented voices.












All photos courtesy of Melissa Long

Posted: April 22nd, 2014
Categories: General Interest, The New Structure
Comments: No Comments.

Dakota Gearhart: What is public space?




To let an idea exist separate from my body gives me chills. The reality is I’m afraid of physical space. It makes me have to pee. It wrangles my best thoughts out of my identity and absorbs them into the labyrinth of consciousness, which is truly beyond any understanding I can muster.




It’s difficult to look around physical space, even more so, public space. The confusion part arises in the consequences of seeing. When ideas pop into the mind like popping corn…They gather, sum up, disperse, shift in color, and if focused, they gain momentum, but then stop abruptly, without finality. The switch of madness, apathy, and love are turned off and on, yet I am in space and I know I am real and oh its all very public and its happening now.





Keeping my sanity while living insane is real to me. But public space? It doesn’t have an ending, like a very long string of details asking people to perform the self and make the universe tangible at the same time. In that kind of context, I am not an idea. I am a kernel floating in a shared tumor of energy, which is at once gorgeous and terrifying.





DAKOTA GEARHART, also known as Tiffany Peters and Tiff Mich, is an artist working in video, performance, sculpture, and multi-media installation. Dakota has exhibited work both nationally and internationally in venues such as Interstitial Theater, Seattle; Elsewhere Studios, Greensboro; Launchpad Gallery, Portland; Core Art Space, Denver; Artgrease, Buffalo; Purdue University Gallery, West Lafayette; Universitat de Barcelona, Spain; and Taiyuan University Gallery, China. Her work has been published in Trifecta Magazine, Carpaccio Magazine, and Open to Interpretation Books. She is the recipient of the Julaine Martin Scholarship, the Jane & David Davis Fellowship, and the Cultural Ambassador Scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Education. She is the organizer of the experimental garage space, The Royal Box, which showcases artists, writers, and musicians of the Pacific Northwest. Dakota was born in Arizona, raised in Florida and lives and works in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, where she recently graduated with her MFA from the University of Washington.

Posted: April 1st, 2014
Categories: General Interest, What is Public Space?
Comments: No Comments.

Occasional Work: Marathon Reading

Project Cityscope presents The New Structure

Saturday, March 15, 2014 // YU Kitchen, Portland, OR

25 Portland poets read from Lisa Robertson’s Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture

Poet and essayist Lisa Robertson has maintained the Office for Soft Architecture since 1996 as an apparatus for lyrical research focused primarily on Vancouver, B.C., with some excursions to other places. The Office constructs propositions and documents for the advancement of a natural history of civic surface.

You can check out videos from the reading here.







All photos courtesy of Melissa Long

Posted: March 19th, 2014
Categories: General Interest, The New Structure
Comments: No Comments.

Coleman Stevenson & Nora Wendl: Paper Houses

Project Cityscope presents The New Structure

Monday, February 24, 2014 // Shout House, Portland, OR

There is a tense space between reality and fabrication: the process of constructing alternate, speculative worlds. It is in this liminal space that Coleman Stevenson and Nora Wendl have constructed the Center for Fictive Architecture, a framework for their individual and collaborative projects, a dwelling for processes of articulating, formulating, and experimenting with the vastness of the imagination. The combination of intimacy and domesticity in Coleman’s work with the materiality and corporeality in Nora’s work cohere to construct and question how architecture can transcend the sheer act of building.












All photos courtesy of Melissa E Long


Posted: March 4th, 2014
Categories: The New Structure
Comments: No Comments.

Ian J. Whitmore: What is public space?

Nowhere #15607, 2010

Nowhere #15607, 2010

Nowhere #3809, 2005

Nowhere #3809, 2005

Nowhere #9104, 2008

Nowhere #9104, 2008


Nowhere is an ambiguous yet ubiquitous space. It is woven into our civic and commercial landscape as irresponsible and irrelevant decoration. In these images we see spaces that we move through every day but rarely acknowledge for their functional purpose or aesthetic value. How we engage with these spaces speaks to how we neglectfully pass through our own communities, and more importantly how we interact with one another.

Through these photographs I am exploring the psychology of our urban and suburban landscape by focusing on the ironic and garish nature of what surrounds us. By presenting ignorable spaces as places that have importance and are of interest we are drawn into the banal—as we linger on these images the mirage dissolves unveiling impotence, benign ornamentation and questions about our direction.

Those promising paths that once led us forward, reaching into the horizon, have been cleared away and accessorized as we seek our destination. Following the rhythm of progress our civic body ceaselessly expands and as the horizon has drawn nearer and nearer—collapsing in on us—it becomes clear that we have arrived nowhere in particular.


IAN J. WHITMORE is a photographer, art director, web developer living in Portland, OR. He is an Assistant Professor of Art at Portland State University. He is currently working on a book series, Onomasticon: A Vocabulary for Nowhere.

Posted: February 12th, 2014
Categories: General Interest, What is Public Space?
Comments: No Comments.