Thursday, October 20, 2011

Neo-Historical Road Markers as Art

My friend Irina G. just tuned me into this amazing project:

Norm Magnusson's I-75 Project

Magnusson creates new historical markers that are overtly political.  Good stuff.

I've been working with (thinking and writing about, photographing) historical markers in Northern Kentucky (especially in Lexington) for awhile now, so this project is near and dear to my heart.  Besides good politics, these signs, of course, point out what a farce so many historical markers really are.

Here, a prime example of historical lying, from Lexington:

False history through the sins of omission.
For more, see my blog post on this and other historical markers here: "Revisionist History...Might Just Be a Good Thing"

In a piece of fine timing, it just so happens that I will soon be driving the entire state of Ohio (more on this soon) so I will be on the lookout for Magnusson's project and be reporting back.


  1. Update: Anticipating the trip to Ohio, I emailed the artist, Magnusson, and he responded:

    Hey Jeff,

    Thanks for writing. I enjoyed your blogs. They put me in mind of a thought from Orwell's 1984 where he says something like "He who controls the present controls the past and he who controls the past controls the future." It was one of those maxims that sounded so good when I was in H.S. reading 1984 but which I have come to truly understand the wisdom of only many years later.

    Regarding the markers, they are not currently up on I-75. That project is in the planning stages. They're up in New Haven, CT right now at an exhibition at Artspace. I'm hoping to have them up along I-75 next summer.



  2. I hope you have been indeed photographing 'Historical Markers'. You may like to assist with "Historical Markers Data Base" ( - - HMdb.)

    HMdb is free and has no limits on the number of: Photos, Text, Comments, or Links. Video can be added via "Add-a-Link".

    The 'process' of finding, photographing, and posting to HMdb can be enlightening and helps the communities in which 'historical markers' exist. By doing so you become a "Marker Hunter" !

    'Marker Hunting' is a great activity for students of all ages as they have fun through-out the process involved. (There is nothing like being "there" on the spot that history happened ! !

    Do not forget the 'War Memorials / Honor Rolls' for all the Veterans that can not view them due to poor health or economy. The inter-net may be the only way they or their family may see them.

    Thank you for any help you can add.