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Interactive Documentary Archive

Greenwich Emotion Map

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2006
By: Christian Nold
Project type: collaborative locative

Description:

Artist Christian Nold worked with 50 local residents from the Greenwich area (London) to build an emotion map of the area that explores people’s relationship with their local environment.

The project was set up as a series of participatory workshops that invited people to borrow a Bio Mapping device and go for a walk. The device measures the wearer’s Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), which is an indicator of emotional arousal in conjunction with their geographical location.

The data collected from all the individual walks is then put together through the visualisation tool that is the map. A map, that is not just geographical any more, but that contains evidences of emotions, comments and memories of people. A map that becomes a political tool (showing the areas that resident do , or do not, like) but also a documentation of people’s feelings in conjunction with the space they inhabit.

Find out more:

More about Greenwich Emotion Map at http://www.softhook.com/emot.htm

To download the map itself: http://www.emotionmap.net/

More about the author, Christian Nold, and other projects…

My comments:

Christian’s projects are always very interesting to me because they are both participative and very tangible. I like them because I see three distinct projects/phases/layers in the Emotion Maps:

The first part is the collaborative effort to define what the map will be about and what residents of one area want to address as issues. This is the collaborative part which involves real consultation with the residents.

The second part is the private experience that residents have while they participate to the project and they walk around their city (or neighbourhood) with their Bio Mapping device on their body. Here they experience the city differently that they normally would, because of the device that they carry – but also because they have to choose their walk, their significant buildings and they can record their memories and feelings about those places. This phase is what I see as a private experience, a kind of awareness journey.

And finally, the third part of the project is what Christian then does with all the data he has collected. By choosing the map as a visualisation tool he changes the use of it and gives is a personal and political edge. He also ends up with a very physical object, something that can be exposed or printed in the “old media” way.

This is a new media project that does not only live in a database. This is a documentation of the city that can be visualised by all – digital or not digital aware- and yet that could not exist without GPS systems and computers.

I think this work is very powerful as it mixes private and social levels of our everyday life in the city. I would also definitively see it as a form of new media documentary: the documentartion of our relationship and emotions towards what structures our movements and our lives- the city.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, March 18th, 2006

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