4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Lindbergh Field’s costly picnic table takes a bow

Artist-in-residence stages secretarial type-in and carved-table show

Conceptual photo of picnic table in airport
Conceptual photo of picnic table in airport

Back in April 2012. we first reported here about Sheryl Oring, a former newspaper writer and editor who was about to embark on a new gig as artist-in-residence at San Diego International Airport.

Oring gave up her journalism career back in the ’90s and pursued her artistic career in Germany, staging Writer’s Block, a one-day exhibit of 600 antique European typewriters tumbled into 21 steel cages arranged on Berlin’s Bebelplatz, the site of an infamous Nazi book-burning exactly 66 years earlier.

Another of Oring’s previous projects involved postcards.

In the spring of 2008, Oring came up with the idea of traveling across America from city to city, taking dictation on an old typewriter from passersby wanting to send a postcard message to the then-still-to-be-chosen next president.

Oring wore a secretarial outfit from the 1960s. “I listen very intently,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “Some people have described it as being like a therapy session.”

Exactly what Oring was going to do in San Diego remained to be seen. Per the directions of airport management, she was to drop into town from her home base at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she is an assistant professor of art, and start by watching what went on at the airport.

“Oring is charged with observing the inner workings of the airport environment, from the day-to-day operations to the executive level.”

Oring’s “process relies heavily on engaging broad-based audiences through the facilitation of public discourse on political, social, historical and personal subjects. Her work is manifested as sculpture, site-specific installations, books and videos.”

The announced pay for Oring’s work involved a "not to exceed" stipend of $8000 over three months; total cost of the project was estimated to be $118,000.

Oring noted that her $8000 initial stipend must cover her transportation to and from the East Coast, as well as food and lodging here. She also expects to receive an honorarium in an amount yet to be determined that will come from the construction expenditure.

On Friday, December 13, Oring’s project, entitled Travel Desk, an oversized take-off on the traditional wood picnic tables found in city parks, was presented at a meeting of the authority's Special Airport Art Advisory Committee,

She described it in a document posted online:

For my Travel Desk installation, I was drawn to the picnic table as an icon of the San Diego landscape.

Initials carved into a tree trunk along a favorite trail or into a wooden picnic table at a beloved spot serve as poignant reminders that we were here, providing an indelible physical mark in an increasingly transitory, digital world.

Typists were a component of Oring's airport project

Echoing Oring's previous efforts employing typewriters and messages from the public, the project featured a line-up of women typists taking dictation from airport workers and passengers as part of the August 2013 "performance" part of the piece.

By pushing the scale of the table itself and carving the table and bench tops with excerpts from the messages typed during the Travel Desk performances, I aim to create an iconic meeting place within the airport, a place where people return to again and again to trace their own stories and read those of others.

No word yet whether the airport’s pricey food concessions will start selling brown-bag lunches.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Main Chicken shows up hot and fast

Yet another L.A. entry to the San Diego hot chicken market
Conceptual photo of picnic table in airport
Conceptual photo of picnic table in airport

Back in April 2012. we first reported here about Sheryl Oring, a former newspaper writer and editor who was about to embark on a new gig as artist-in-residence at San Diego International Airport.

Oring gave up her journalism career back in the ’90s and pursued her artistic career in Germany, staging Writer’s Block, a one-day exhibit of 600 antique European typewriters tumbled into 21 steel cages arranged on Berlin’s Bebelplatz, the site of an infamous Nazi book-burning exactly 66 years earlier.

Another of Oring’s previous projects involved postcards.

In the spring of 2008, Oring came up with the idea of traveling across America from city to city, taking dictation on an old typewriter from passersby wanting to send a postcard message to the then-still-to-be-chosen next president.

Oring wore a secretarial outfit from the 1960s. “I listen very intently,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “Some people have described it as being like a therapy session.”

Exactly what Oring was going to do in San Diego remained to be seen. Per the directions of airport management, she was to drop into town from her home base at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she is an assistant professor of art, and start by watching what went on at the airport.

“Oring is charged with observing the inner workings of the airport environment, from the day-to-day operations to the executive level.”

Oring’s “process relies heavily on engaging broad-based audiences through the facilitation of public discourse on political, social, historical and personal subjects. Her work is manifested as sculpture, site-specific installations, books and videos.”

The announced pay for Oring’s work involved a "not to exceed" stipend of $8000 over three months; total cost of the project was estimated to be $118,000.

Oring noted that her $8000 initial stipend must cover her transportation to and from the East Coast, as well as food and lodging here. She also expects to receive an honorarium in an amount yet to be determined that will come from the construction expenditure.

On Friday, December 13, Oring’s project, entitled Travel Desk, an oversized take-off on the traditional wood picnic tables found in city parks, was presented at a meeting of the authority's Special Airport Art Advisory Committee,

She described it in a document posted online:

For my Travel Desk installation, I was drawn to the picnic table as an icon of the San Diego landscape.

Initials carved into a tree trunk along a favorite trail or into a wooden picnic table at a beloved spot serve as poignant reminders that we were here, providing an indelible physical mark in an increasingly transitory, digital world.

Typists were a component of Oring's airport project

Echoing Oring's previous efforts employing typewriters and messages from the public, the project featured a line-up of women typists taking dictation from airport workers and passengers as part of the August 2013 "performance" part of the piece.

By pushing the scale of the table itself and carving the table and bench tops with excerpts from the messages typed during the Travel Desk performances, I aim to create an iconic meeting place within the airport, a place where people return to again and again to trace their own stories and read those of others.

No word yet whether the airport’s pricey food concessions will start selling brown-bag lunches.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Wild lilac always comes back

January's full moon
Next Article

Three checkpoints, seven hours south of Tecate

Did molly and weed make this a bad trip?
Comments
2

Tables look uncomfortable, but I'll bet Su Mei Yu's new airport restaurant offers Thai food to go. Is it also called Saffron?

Dec. 16, 2013

isn't it great that there is enough money for things like this? That table is way more important than fixing bad roads or field trips for school kids.

Dec. 18, 2013

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close