Friday, November 11, 2011

Landmarkings: Phase II - Documentation and Implementation

When we visit a landmark what is our intent, how do we navigate the space, and what do we take from the experience? Usually we come as visitors to partake in an experience that has been arranged for us. That experience has been mediated, in almost always, in a public sphere. Ever since the meme of tourist photography evolved (or travel photography) we tend to photo-document that experience to share with others or to serve as a reminder to ourselves that we had that experience. My objective with my kit/project, “Landmarkings,” was to consider the overall spaces in which “Landmarks” are situated. Furthermore, what if the camera was turned around from the object of the gaze to the reverse gaze of the space. Could the transient visitor’s own artifacts (litter left behind) comment on the landmark and the space it occupies?

I set out with the intent to provide others with a set of instructions to embark on a derive of consideration of that site and an option of cataloging the findings they came across. The “traveler” would be armed with a set of 7 pieces of chalk (available on Etsy), a camera, a pad and pen, and eventually internet access combined with a set of instructions:

Here are those instructions:
- Go to a local/national “Landmark” and set about seeking out litter by the people who visit.
- Mark the object with a surrounding shape of either a Circle, Square, or Triangle. Each shape should correlate to a category the litter falls into within a whole*
- Note a short description of the object.
- Photograph from above (visit the Landmarkings site for an idea how to shoot the item)
-Mentally, notationally, or cartographically (I print out a GoogleMaps of the area beforehand) identify where the object is located specifically.
-Collect and dispose of the item (a pair of gloves and a grocery bag work great)
-Upload the images to the Landmarkings site and follow the instructions to tag the item with the descriptive and locational information you collected earlier.
* What are 3 categories that can cover all that we consider litter? This takes time to develop so I suggest exploring and just looking. What general groups could these be divided into: Physical-plastic, paper, metal...conceptual-purchased, dropped...indexical-has text, traceable, hue/color.



There are two components to this activity: the marking/investigation and the spatial/informational data sets it creates.

After you leave the space a mark is left representing what was left there. This is a gift that is not often offered to the space that is encumbered with the conditioning of how we should behave in a “tourist” location (which all to often is used for only one purpose…which then can neglect the tertiary environment). You will hopefully embark on a trajectory that considers the space and how others might use it, in a personal search for items left behind. Once you encounter an object you are faced with the challenge of your three defined systems of categorization (the shapes), but also how to identify, with a limited amount of context, exactly what the object might be. There is a translation that happens with the participant/archaeologist defining the objects in a space that is actively constructed to turn the focus towards the beacon of the landmark rather than the visitors that leave the litter.

The sharing of information and dispersal of individual experience of this project unto a community allows for further investigation of how the spaces are used and relate to each other. Does the litter surrounding the space Robert Indiana’s Love Statue in John F. Kennedy Plaza in Philadelphia differ than that surrounding David Adicke's immense Sam Houston Statue in Huntsville, Texas? What factors might contribute to the prevalence of Chicago transit maps being a regular occurrence in Millennium Park? These are correlations and connectives (even disparities) that can come from the proliferation of investigating sites that are often overshadowed by landmarks when our cameras are guided up and to the center.

Armed with her investigative tools!

Burger King receipt

Triangle - Objects used by people/the body

Circle - Systems of Information

Square - Whole/parts of Beverage containers

Identifying, what could it be?!


Takin' out the traaaash!

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