On 21 September 2014—the United Nations International Day of Peace—a group of Middle Eastern artists embarked on an open-ended road trip across the US. Calling themselves “Culturunners”, they set off in a converted 1999 Gulf Stream RV from the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, and began crisscrossing the country in search of common concerns between “America” and the “Middle East”. Over the following two years, Culturunners traveled over 22,000 miles across 28 States, exploring the country from a unique point of view. From the US/Mexico border to Standing Rock in North Dakota, the Arab and Iranian artists found themselves embedded in the polarised communities of a changing nation.
On the last year of their journey, The Art Newspaper has invited Culturunners to share their experiences from the road, in the form of an ongoing diary. Over the coming months, the group’s artists and organisers will be sharing their first-person perspectives from the front line of a new America.
A note on the diary form: these posts will be constructed from transcriptions of notebooks and interviews that were recorded on the road, as well as reconstructions and reflections by the artists following their return home.