Mathilde and Simon, for their conference project, have created a set of uniforms to use as wearable maps. The uniforms are a short and T-shirt set in all black. The shirt have a grid of holes.
The mapping project, will be to weave through the holes with grey, white, and black string to record their movement based on their decoding of signs throughout the East Village.
The signs will be attached in the turning or transitional moments of the grid, each block will be another stitch, and each symbol will mark the transition. The symbols will be morbid tattoos, signs of death, and signs of caution in the physical realm.
The project was inspired by Merlin Coverley’s Psychogeography and Marina Abramovic’s trauma performance art. Mathilde and Simon will be wandering through the city as psychogeographers, while creating a performance art piece at the same time.
The purpose of the project is to uncover an untold narrative in the urban landscape and to archive the accumulated knowledge in an abstract context. the wearability of the map emphasizes the transformative nature of costume in urban exploration and geography, it allows for the participants to separate themselves from their preconceived context, and consistently re-imagine the world, as if they were seeing it for the first time.
Our two perspectives will create two maps, and our collaboration an entirely new narrative. Our perspectives both unique in the sam experience.
My map defines the invisible process of the way in which natural light adds to the beauty and theatricality of specific buildings in New York City. I feel as though sunlight that streams in through the windows of these architectural monuments adds to the beauty and warmth of the building itself, and ultimately leads to a type of performance put on by the interior of the structure. This “performance” leads to the audience (or people within the structure) paying attention to the way in which the light hits various parts of the room, allowing better understanding and absorption of the architecture.
Our initial discussions about what renders something “invisible” to society greatly influenced my thoughts the process behind figuring out this conference project. I feel as though light is something that is so common that it is frequently overlooked, yet it still possesses a beauty that in the rare moments it is recognized, there are always feelings of warmth and pleasure associated with this experience. In this map I hope to bring this invisible process to light and make this beauty available to be viewed consistently rather than in the brief moments of time when natural light is visible indoors.
The vague areas of this piece are the how I will plot each building on the compass. I intend to pick a direction (south-west, as this tends to be the side of the building that gets the most sunlight, without acknowledging in the vast amount of factors that alter this statement such as floor level or proximity to other buildings) and place the most color in the surface in this part of the map, making these places/points deemed more “beautiful”.
By choosing to map this process on photoshop, I will be able to attempt to copy the various color gradients of natural light through the multiple functions on paint. Additionally, the text and the straight lines of the compass will be done entirely on photoshop, making the map neater and allowing the pictures stand out against the soft background of the surface.
Artist Reference: Original maps and cartographers
I began thinking about my conference project inspired by a couple of different psychogeographic and map inspired projects. I found the idea of ‘mental travel’ that Merlin Coverley wrote about in Psychogeography incredibly compelling, and I identified it with a lot of my own experiences of daydreaming about distant (or nearby) places. Additionally, over spring break I found the book Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky in a book store over spring break. The subtitle of this book is “Fifty Islands I have not visited and never will,” and in the introduction Shalansky writes about her experience of mental travel through looking at atlases as a child growing up in East Berlin, a place she could not travel beyond.The night before I found the book, I was aimlessly looking through Google Maps when I located a series of islands I had never heard of before called the Faroe Islands. I was surprised to know that 50,000 people lived there, and I clicked through the photographs of the towns there and tried to imagining what life would be like if I had grown up there. This is where the full idea for my conference project came from.
When school started up again, I began to explore different parts of America on Google Map street view. I was drawn to the most rural places, because I grew up in a city and have minimal exposure to living in rural America. Also, often when traveling (at least in my family), we tend to visit cities, both familiar cities where family lives like Los Angeles and Denver, as well as cities we have not seen before. In my writing class, we were talking once about the experience of driving through rural, almost empty areas of the country and trying to imagine what kind of person lives in the houses you pass by. As I looked through Google Maps and chose specific locations to zoom in on, I kept this framework of trying to imagine the lives that inhabit these locations in mind. I selected which specific roads/towns to zoom in on based on whether the street or town names appealed to me.
My map will depict aspects of American life that do not appear on maps but that mark the memories and locations of experiences in peoples’ memories. For example, a field where a child found a four leaf clover, or a road where a car accident occurred, or a place where a teenager smokes their first cigarette…these types of milestones do not show up on the terrain or maps of America, but they are very much a part of growing up in the specific spaces. The inspiration for the “invisible” aspect of my map comes from anthropologist Kathleen Stewart’s Ordinary Affects, an ethnography of American life that she depicts through non-fictional vignettes of the ‘ordinary’. I hope to map ordinary affects in my conference project. I am still decided how exactly to present this concept. I began with collage of rectangular pictures shown in the second image of this post and intended to make a 40 by 40″ map in that style. On top of the ‘surface’ (the screenshots of different street views), I would write in sharpie the ordinary event that occurred there which would be the sign system.
I’m not sure what the connection system would be in this map. When I brought my digital sketch to conference, Una and I discussed ways that I could use the map to combat competing discourses that define American life. We thought of using a chart of the stock market crash as a “surface” containing holes which reveal the screenshot images I took and the sign system details that explain the ordinary events that occurred in the spaces.
The issue now is that the draft I have is rectangular and therefore not 40 by 40, and I can’t use as many images as I hoped to. I also want to make sure it is read as a map.