Portola Cognito is a giant book with give-away pages. It is named in response to geographer Gray Brechin’s statement that the working class fringes of this city are “San Francisco Incognito.” The Portola Cognito maps are interpretive. They are meant as a guide to finding the way through the Portola’s history and through its present, a way to understand the natural and historical forces that have shaped the neighborhood. They are an attempt to gather together information on the Portola. The maps are all based on interpretations of the artists’ research findings: oral histories, interviews with anthropologists and geographers, archival research, walks in the neighborhood, and casual talks with neighbors. The pages of Portola Cognito are super-sized versions of 8 maps from Tracing the Portola: A San Francisco Neighborhood Atlas. The artists owe a debt of gratitude for Portola Cognito’s format to Felix Gonzalez-Torres and his generous exhibition giveaways.
Edited by Kathleen Coll