Mapping our Worlds: An Interactive Exhibit

Mapping our Worlds will be an online exhibit exploring new ways of mapping subjective experiences. From soundmaps to photomaps, digital mapping has allowed users to link a location to any other type of media. Online media, once praised for their global reach, have become hyperlocal. How does access to all these location-based messages alter our perception and experience of a space? Does it add to one’s experience of a place, creating rich, nuanced meanings and relationships, or does it limit our imagination and interaction? The map as an object seems to have become a materialization of the immaterial, a way to represent our experiences, emotions, responses and ideas.

Today we often think of maps as objective representations. I want this exhibit to show that maps are not objective, but subjective. Perhaps we are reverting back to mapping social actions, as we link locations to our activities (eg: shopping maps, Foursquare) and even to our ideas (eg: Facebook, Twitter). By adding subjective experiences to an “objective” map, how is the perception and experience of the user changed? How do these different forms of mapping interact with each other to define a specific space? In the exhibit I would like to present examples of early maps that represent social action, as well as the different ways we use digital maps to represent our subjective experiences, to show the relationship between the analog, material object of the older maps, and how new digital maps represent the materiality of our every-day experiences.

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