Sunday, December 5, 2010

Check out
It was a public art project designed to turn urban landscapes into peer to peer built recordings of local experiences. "Combining stickers, mobile phones and an international community, Yellow Arrow transforms the urban landscape into a "deep map" that expresses the personal histories and hidden secrets that live within our everyday spaces."

The idea is to give out or sell yellow stickers in the shape of arrows that people can stick anywhere, pointing to a paricular subject they were interested in. On each sticker is a unique number code. By sending a textmessage to the Yellow Arrow number starting with the number on the sticker, a person can attach their personal story to their arrow. The stories can be about anything, but Yellow Arrow hoped people will write about the places they had pointed to. With enough arrows in a city, this in turn will create a new urban map of the city that was baced on experiances rather than directions. Passers-by are be able to text message the arrows number to Yellow Arrow and recieve the attched story. They are also be able to add their own experience to the existing story.

This project is very similar to art projects the Surrealists International were doing in the 50s and 60s in France and other cities around Europe. The Surrealists were an avant-garde artist group that would use old maps, blue prints and areal photographs to composite new maps of the cities they lived in. they would wonder around the city randomly and record their paths, thoughts and experiences. The redefined cartography by creating maps "put the spectator at ease with a city of apparent disorder, exposing the strange logic that lay beneath its surface. The Situationist maps described an urban navigational system that operated independently of Paris's dominant patterns of circulation."

Projects like Yellow Arrow look to incorperate ordinary people and their experiances into a landscape that is often inpersonal and devoid of individual connections. We should be looking to create maps that "answer the question of 'what's it like?' rather than 'where is it?'... maps where scale and projection are no longer the key considerations. Through the web, we can deliver maps that inspire rather than simply inform."

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