In my three years at UCI, I have been over to the Claire Trevor School of the Arts a total of four times: once during SPOP, twice to visit the Cyber A Cafe, and once this year on my way to Soulstice. As a result, I barely noticed the PinTour, one of Claire Trevor’s outdoor design art installations.
PinTour was originally conceived in 2013 as a way to showcase the history and design of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts through a visual art installation and accompanying audio tour available through smartphones. Funded through Kickstarter and far surpassing its original 10-week installation goal in the Spring of 2013, it was kept for an additional two years, achieving great success, popularity and the Orange Coast magazine award for Best Audio Walk in July 2015. It has since been taken down, prior to the Fall 2015 Welcome Week.
I spoke with Bryan Jackson, director of the project and a Professor of the Art Department at Claire Trevor, about why the installation was taken down.
The PinTour was the “result of the students’ particular interest in placemaking with an emphasis on temporary interventions that are more nimble and not weighed down with considerations that come with permanence. PinTour wasn’t conceived as art, it was about design interaction, audio and community building.”
Recently, however, the Digital Arts has had a shift in “the focus of the audio project from group work, like the audio walks produced for PinTour, to individual works that draw on students’ personal experiences and involve recording family oral histories, like the work that StoryCorp or The Moth does. The new audio work is very exciting, but the content didn’t really fit with PinTour.”
But an opportunity has revealed itself with the removal of the PinTour; Professor Jackson noted that “deinstalling has opened up fresh thinking, and we’re already dreaming up a new project reusing the same locations [of the PinTour]. Currently, we’re working on a challenging new wayfinding design project called, ‘You Are Here Pilot Project.’” It sounds like a fun interactive directory, and based on the Department’s history, is definitely worth checking out when it arrives.
In the meantime, Professor Jackson and his students will be renovating the pins for a new video, documenting both the experience of the project and hoping to “share the idea of PinTour, possibly inspiring others to build on our research.” The new video will be showcased on the PinTour website, and the pins may reappear during special events at Claire Trevor.
For now, PinTour’s legacy remains available online at www.pintouruci.com, an archive of the informative and hilarious audio work created for the virtual tour. The Anteater Cruise, Inside Look, Meditation, Night, Selfie, and Watson audio tours are still available for your own discovery of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, with a bit of imagination required of where the pins used to be. The Anteater Cruise in particular, reminds me of the cheesy, cringe-inducing puns told by the Jungle Cruise ride operators at Disneyland.