Now we are well into our "Moving Thought" artists' bookmobile project, with our first book selections made, and some red-hot venues lined up (see below). But I want to recall the beginning moments of this scheme when I spoke with Irineo Cabreros, USF studio manager, about my dreams of living in a trailer, of running a gallery in a trailer. It’s an old artistical dream, really, from Wallace Berman’s Larkspur Gallery on a houseboat, to numerous contemporary art fair projects around nomadism and its technology.
These ideas seemed especially appropriate to Florida, where many a moss-encrusted trailer can be spied in shady glades, signs of a life lived on the edge of the grid. Irineo was talking to Bates RV, whose owner was apparently burying Airstreams in the ground as part of a monument of some kind. This seemed very strange, but intriguing. Irineo hoped to procure one of these trailers slated for the project for us to use as a traveling exhibition venue. In this he failed… the Airstream was buried. “Did you see it in the paper?” he asked one morning. I was dejected, and missed the notice.
Meanwhile, I contacted the Mobilivre project group at the suggestion of electronic media professor Anat Pollack. This project circulated artists’ books and zines for several years inside a remodeled Airstream trailer. It seemed we might be able to borrow their trailer for our project – an enticing prospect. Yet the logistics of moving it from New Jersey to Florida and back seemed daunting, and the group did not stay in contact.
Someone tipped me to the 2008 Florida RV Supershow at the State Fairgrounds, and I caught it on the last day. I brought my folding bicycle to wander amidst more RVs laid out and open than I’d ever seen in my life, hoping to find a dealer who would warm to our project and loan us a vehicle. Bates RV was all over that show, petitioning to save something called the “Airstream Ranch” from closure by public officials. I zipped up to the main Bates setup on my Dahon, and caught the ear of Mike Brucker. He works sales for Bates RV, put two kids through USF, and warmed to the notion of using one of their Airstreams for the “Moving Thought” project. Mike introduced me to Frank Bates, who, with mere hours before this major expo closed, said he thought it could be done…