This project, by artist Pia Massie, took place in 1996 and involved a number of the working-class diners that existed in the Mount Pleasant area over the past four or five decades.
The Mattering Map Project provided point and shoot cameras encouraging the self-documentation of how the people in the diners saw their own spaces. Massie then selected one photograph from each diner to mount on diner table tops – some found / some created – to echo the aesthetic of these dying establishments, making larger works which incorporated the coloured formicas that form the visual patterns within these diners.
Massie spent a lot of time in her neighborhood diners, listening to and recording the stories of the owners, workers and other patrons. A compilation sound-work was created from the audio tapes, which were the oral histories of these spaces. These stories were triggered by a motion sensor when you walked past the image.
The project made one community out of these spaces. With these establishments in their last days, the immigrants’ stories recaptured a history that might otherwise have been lost.
Massie wanted to install all the pieces back into the individual diners they came from so that The Mattering Map would connect these community spaces. However, only a few works were re-installed in the diners and these diners have since been gentrified out of existence.