In the U.S. the economic slowdown of the first decade of the 21st century has often been compared to “The Great Depression” of the early 20th century, and for Doug Levitt his own journey across the U.S. has come to replicate the federally funded artistic works created in the 1930s. The U.S. Government felt it was important for the issues facing its citizens to be recorded in one of the darkest hours of the country; Doug Levitt believes his work is similar in tone and texture to that of 1930s artists as he travels the U.S. by bus looking for the stories of real people who are often ignored by the mainstream media.
Levitt embarked on the journey that would eventually become “The Greyhound Diaries” in 2004 when he acted as a volunteer for the Presidential election campaign of Democrat John Kerry and used bus journeys to build support prior to the election taking place. After being struck by the socioeconomic issues facing the people he met on his bus journeys, Levitt eventually made the decision to return to these stories and has spent almost the entirety of the next decade moving across the U.S. by bus.
By traveling by bus the artist believes he has an unrivaled opportunity to meet the people who live at the harshest margins of society and do not feel they are represented by the main TV networks or news organizations. “The Greyhound Diaries” uses many different forms of media to tell the real stories of people using music, spoken word performances, photography, and a YouTube channel showing the work completed by the London School of Economics graduate. Doug Levitt on Twitter.
Born in Washington D.C., Doug Levitt has been deeply affected by learning more about the financial and social issues facing millions of Americans living in the heart of the country; Levitt himself was born into a political family in the nation’s capital and believes being sheltered from the major issues of the day by the nature of the Washington economy left him unaware of the problems in the heartland of the U.S. Levitt developed “The Greyhound Diaries” after spending much of his career working in the broadcast news industry as a foreign correspondent for many of the major news organizations.