Thursday, February 26, 2009
To Scale: Reversal, the Map as Living Story(ies) 1.1
While each of Auggie’s photographs in their imagery, a frozen moment of life, a sliver of time (an x-ray, a cut) they are mathematically held to a tempo of daily precision, 8:00 a.m. every morning. However, the accuracy depends in Auggie’s punctuality. In Amsterdam RealTime, the precision is certain as the GPS data is absolute and while no imagery or sounds are captured, an abstract image exposing the routines of the city is created out of the accumulation of movements (lines) through the city. NY A/V is also tied to a choreography that of the mapmaker, from sunrise to sunset for seven days, every fifteen minutes 40 feet forward and the zoom capacity of the audio/video camera. However mechanical time is absolute and it ticks forward regardless of any obstacles along the way. BiCi_N achieves its mathematical accuracy out of its basic framework as an extension of the human body living the city unencumbered by the process. Both of these projects, BiCi_N and NY A/V map, are individual and collective, and are generative and participatory. However, while attempting to be from below and at street level, NY A/V is still presenting one point of view, that of a map-maker conscious of the process, that of an authority as opposed to that of a participant in the city.
In the explorations of the reversal of from above to from below and the merging of drawing and moving image, scale becomes the body in the city as the document itself. In this discussion scale becomes full scale. But more importantly, a single point of view becomes multiple points of views. Rather than from a fixed and dominant point of view the BiCi_N project aims to understand the city from within, from below and from the informal, input of the many. The project collects multiple subjectivities as multiple users (5,000,000 users, 1,500 bikes) “cycle” the city. Cycling as the city cycles, the inhabitants read and write their stories, composing “a manifold story that has neither author nor spectator”. These multiple viewpoints “shaped out of fragments of trajectories and alterations of spaces” will replace the singular totalizing view from above, replacing the map of the static with a map of the ephemeral produced by its occupant for its occupants. By multiplying viewpoints a totalizing map from below is created.
We conducted a study in Barcelona, a sketch version of the larger proposed project. This one involved six users of the city during the period of two weeks using the Bicing transportation system equipped with GPS/audio/video as extensions of their body(ies) into the city, as drawing apparatuses. A collaboration was established with interactive design media firm Zemoga and film director Roy Ettinger as a way to fully explore the potential of this drawing/movie hybrid as well as to explore the potential of the interactivity of this as a living document. We worked on a movie/drawing, on section drawings/movies and on an interactive web site/map. Our biggest discovery was the potential of setting up the framework for a different kind of movie, one that would be written and rewritten by multiple users as they organized real-life footage into their own stories of the city. These movies would generate and regenerate as the city does. It would present the details of life and the collective as fictions of city life. But is this the map? Or does this also suggest a different kind of map? One that is also multiplicious by being edited and transcribed also by real users of the city, a document to be analyzed by many whether in an architectural, urbanistic or whether in a filmic or literary way. The city would be read via “fragments of trajectories” as assembled and organized to tell stories, to compare, to analyze. In this real time, abstract and realistic, mathematical and sensual, drawing/movie, interactive representation of the city, people would enter, connect, distribute, read, draw, and write their city.