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Diane Samuels

Mapping Sampsonia Way


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Living on Sampsonia’s alleyway, Samuels has literally chronicled each crack of the 828-foot-long street, and given the opportunity to walk the alley, viewers discover that she has filled one continuous crack with gold leaf. Over a 6-month period, using the cross-streets of Monterey and Sherman as physical parentheses, Samuels photographed the alley in 16” x 24” sections. A 30-foot Iris print depicts the alley’s surface in minute topographical detail and is covered by a glass overlay, etched and penciled with oral histories Samuels collected and overheard during interactions with Sampsonia’s residents and passersby. Additionally, visitors encounter a 28-foot section of the alley consisting of 84 tiles that Samuels cast in plaster and installed on the gallery floor. As viewers move toward an outdoor viewing space to peer through a scope fixed on Sampsonia Way below, they walk across a video projection that captures satellite, aerial, and close-up views of Sampsonia Way and its place in the world.

In her installation entitled Mapping Sampsonia Way, Diane Samuels explores relationships between readers and writers, residents and visitors, image and text, spectators and events, and experience and memory. As a resident of Sampsonia Way since 1980, Samuels delves into the ongoing relationship between history, community, and oral narration, and the individuals who create those narrations. Her installation draws upon the rich history of the Northside’s Mexican War Streets where the Mattress Factory resides, and also uses the voices and experiences of its residents to create this visual recollection of her neighborhood.

Artist Statement

I am interested in exploring the fragility and status of memory in the context of history and how stories (and memories)—as personal, artistic, and social artifacts—are made, evolved, and consumed. I do take seriously the premise that the world can be experienced as a book. Insofar as we make it together and assert meaning to the making, to live in the world is, thus, inevitably to be both a reader and a writer.


Messages & Communications: October 2, 2005 – April 2, 2006
About The Artist

Diane Samuels received both her BFA and MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She has a Diploma from Harvard University, Institute in Arts Administration. She is a Visual Artist who uses other people's words to create her work.

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