New Public Sites – The Ragged Edge of Rockville explores the invisible sites, contradictory features and historical spirits embedded in downtown Rockville. Radical walking tours and a VisArts gallery installation of banners, videos and maps stitch together an array of new and old buildings, urban and suburban places, and psychically-charged, poetic sites. As the historic seat of Montgomery County turned booming DC suburb, Rockville stands as an example par excellence of Sub/Urban Ambiguity: “Cities and suburbs posing as enigmas of one another.” The title of the project is inspired by a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, in which the narrator reflects on how his former home in the “Middle West seems like the ragged edge of the universe now”. Tour activities include making paper rubbings and collecting Shards of Site while engaging memorials of literary tribute and contested Civil War histories. Along the way, participants will explore newly created public spaces aspiring to urban authenticity while beholding suburban voids overturning in speculative wait.
Take a self-guided tour using the interactive map above
Suggested starting point is VisArts:
155 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD 20850
Laura Roulet, John Baty and Susan Main generously provided walking tour photos. Special thanks to all the tour participants, VisArts Rockville, exhibition manager Susan Main, curator Laura Roulet, the Rockville Public Library, and the Montgomery County Historical Society.