Friday, February 27, 2009

To Scale: Reversal, the Map as Living Story(ies) 1.3

The implications of the understanding of the relationship between the body of the city and the human body are immense and necessary at a time when our environment is so quickly changing and being affected by our bodies and our actions, and at a time when we are being so negatively affected by the cities that we have created which do not acknowledge the human body in need of movement and social interaction. We are deprived of our most basic needs and are mostly unaware of it. At both scales these bodies are deficient. Having just returned from a pedestrian city to an automobile city I am quite perceptive of the obesity of the inhabitants of most of our cities and of the almost impossible opportunities for the street level chance encounter and interaction, the tactile meeting of bodies is impossible when always within the confines of a car. Obviously, that same encapsulating vehicle while separating the body from the environment is also polluting the environment with its toxins and those of the infrastructures that are erected daily to deal with its expediential explosion. The convergence of video and GPS and the Internet is already occurring for documentation of extreme sports. These professional athletes want to be able to both map their experiences but also map their performance data. In MotionBased, a recently launched website, athletes are mapping a personal itinerary before a sport event and later uploading the retrieved data of their activity from the GPS device and a synchronized video camera to analyze their performance in great detail in order to improve their performance (41). Could we say that this is a multiplicious version of what Marey and his contemporaries like Eadweard Muybridge were doing in the 1800s with chronophotography. Or even the work of Frank Gilbreth of the 1900s. In this case it is the individuals themselves who are able to analyze their own data, their own movements, deficiencies, forces at work, in order to strive for their optimum performance. The technologies that we have available today empower us. We are not however taking full advantage of these opportunities if we do not engage all of the inhabitants of our cities and not just the professional athletes or sport enthusiasts. Will we understand our deficiencies if we visualize the data of both our bodies and the in relationship to the body of the city as a kind of self diagnosis? This is only possible if we visualized the interiority of our bodies, human and city in all of their qualities?

41 see

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