Alligator | Worlds Away

Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes


Walker Art Center,
February 16 - August 17, 2008

Carnegie Museum of Art,
October 4, 2008 - January 18, 2009

Yale School of Architecture
March 2 - May 10, 2009

Because suburbia occupies a dominant presence in so many lives—a place of not only residence but also of work, commerce, worship, education, and leisure—it has become a focal point for competing interests and viewpoints. The suburbs have always been a fertile space for imagining both the best and the worst of modern social life. more

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Related Events


Drawn Here: Sean Griffiths of FAT
Target Free Thursday Nights
Thursday, March 6 7:00 pm

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Escape to the Suburbs!
Free First Saturday
Saturday, April 5 10:00 am to 3:00 pm


Next Exit: The Shifting Landscape of Suburbia
Target Free Thursday Nights
Thursday, April 24 7:00 pm

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All essays are originally from the companion book for this exhibition, Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes. Some essays appear in excerpted form where noted.

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We asked people to make a video telling us about the suburbs and put it on YouTube. Selected videos are showing in the gallery at the Walker Art Center during the run of the exhibition.

Selected Videos

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Original Submission Call

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Do you live in a suburb? Do you work or go to school in one? What is your experience of the “burbs? ”…

Whether you love them or hate them we’re interested in your thoughts on the phenomenon of the American suburb. We invite you to make a 5-minute video about strip malls, cul-de-sacs, office parks, and green lawns or whatever suburbia means to you. A select number of videos will be chosen to screen as part of the exhibition Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes in the Target Gallery from February 15 to May 18, 2008.

To participate, upload your video to YouTube and add the tag “walkerworldsaway” or post it as a response to our video above. We’ll feature all videos on the Walker’s YouTube page. To be considered for gallery screening, entries must be 5 minutes or less and be online by January 18, 2008.

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1.  A real estate investment producing negative cash flow.

Land that is purchased by a developer, but divided into more subdivisions than are ever actually developed. “An alligator investment ‘eats’ equity because it lives on a diet of principal, interest, and property tax payments but does not produce income.” 1

2.  A strip of tire tred found on the side of the road.

Trucker lingo for tires or retreads that have flown off of wheels and are scattered on the road.2

3.  A broad-snouted crocodilian that occasionally plagues suburban areas.

As suburban areas that encroach on wetlands in places such as Tampa3 and Houston4, alligators have wandered into new developments. Alligators have also been found in the suburbs of Los Angeles5, Washington D.C.6 and Cleveland7, where police suspect they were kept as pets.


1 Dolores Hayden, with photographs by Jim Wark. A Field Guide to Sprawl. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2004:? (↑)

2 Zeke Barlow. “Gators Lurk on Interstate 81 They Look Like Huge Reptiles and Can Bite Just As Hard.” Roanoke Times & World News, Va. (July 3, 1999): A1. (↑)

3 Geoff Fox. “Gator Visits Suburb.” The Tampa Tribune (May 25, 2007). (↑)

4 “Authorities Suggest Ways for Living with Alligators.” Press Release from Texas Parks and Wildlife (May 3, 2004). (↑)

5 “Los Angeles Urban Gator Finally Nabbed by Gator Wranglers.” (September 17, 2005). (↑)

6 Amy Orndorff. “Reston Woman Wrangles and Errant Alligator into Captivity.” Washington Post (June 29, 2007): B3. (↑)

7 “Police Capture Loose Alligator in Cleveland Suburb.” Associated Press (June 15, 2007) (↑)


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