Wandermap - City Walking

A workshop for alternative mapping. The future of the project is to create workshops using the techniques. The idea is to be more present, get a more subtle sense of your surroundings and connect closely with beauty in the everyday, essentially a meditation. A technique of creating routes by overlaying content such as drawings and shapes onto the map (I want to turn it into a phone app if you would like to help). Wandermap is a way of seeing and navigating in the city environment differently. It is a way of breaking everyday routines and developing unusual mapping and photographic practices. It is also a way of occupying and following activities in the city space. Wandermap is best practiced in the city environment as it requires the navigation of features of the landscape of which there are more in the city. Wandermap is very accessible and can either be a very simple wander, a fully equipped expedition, a luxury tour or an occupation.

I created a project called Wandermap which involves using inventive methods to create new geographical movements and explore and discover the city space in different ways to create new insights. As part of this project I did walks with people where we would draw a special kind of map (such as the outline of the person’s face) and then we would walk it in the city space and make observations and notations. The idea is to be more present, get a more subtle sense of your surroundings and connect closely with beauty in the everyday, essentially a meditation.

Hand drawn maps are beautiful.

Peckham Rye Derive

  • A way to walk
  • A route to walk
  • A way to see
  • A way to walk in a group
  • A way to navigate
  • A way to subvert routine movements
  • A mapping system
  • A practical philosophy

Maps

City Walking

Is good because:

  • There are many human factors
  • Tend to be the places we are most familiar with hence chance for new awareness
  • Lots of layers of history and information to discovery
  • Lots of people to map with

Wander Theory

Its a tourism of the unreal. Its as if we suddenly found ourselves in an eerily real science fiction movie and we had to spot the subtle but very significant ways that the aliens were taking over

Take a wander

To take a Wander you need

  • A location
  • A starting point
  • Suitable clothes and shoes
  • A pen and paper
  • A technique
  • A camera
  • A compass
  • The Open Wilderness Guiding Book
  • A small group of people
  • Food and drink

App

Emotion Maps

Wandermap’s value is proportional to how much I and other people use it. However, it is at a point now where I can use it and go out and walk a map then upload it onto a database so its progressed and it indicates ‘in the world’ use. It would benefit from having someone else involved. I think that the project just needs to find someone who has funding and needs a project like this to show for it.

The reason that smartphones are useful for this is because they offer seemless ways to overlay things over the map, plot routes, and track the phones. They free you from the desktop and can actually raise awareness of the environment by reframing the way that you engage with it.

Web App

The premise is that you:

  • Come to the site
  • Browse the walks that have been completed with their completed maps, notes, GPS routes, description etc
  • Get inspired to create an account so you can also participate You then browse the user contributed list of map techniques
  • Choose one and follow the instructions for how to create the hand drawn map
  • Then you go out into the world and use your map taking any necessary accessories (and friends / groups / school kids / colleagues) with you
  • Then you come back and share your experiences by uploading them as a new map project article

Sharing spreads the awareness and beauty.

Walking is good for your health, fun and social and helps us to become more conscious of the city space we inhabit.

Usergroup

  • change their routines
  • find new places to walk in the city
  • are interested in hiking or walking
  • are interested in walking as a photographic practice
  • are interested in mapping and subverting maps
  • for all ages
  • specifically for city-dwellers (but could be adopted for certain non-urban environments)
  • are interested in documenting their walks

Feedback

  • "app" in there making use of smartphone/tablet GPS functionality, as well as the paper version.
  • My map in particular: the resolution was too high; the walk was
  • probably longer than many people would like.
  • novelty value was high
  • The waypoints worked really well as they encouraged stopping and looking as well as moving around; possibly the balance could swing more in that direction.
  • There might be ways of ensuring that the user dosn't end up in suburbia for hours because it does get tedious. Possibly bringing more local information into the experience would help rather than making it 100% user-generated as by its nature it would be quite hit and miss in whether or not it was overall a success.
  • Definitely the process of thinking in a different context to usual had an effect on the mental journey that took place.
  • I enjoyed it but I'm aware that not everyone would see it as philosophically as I did.
  • I think that the partially-hidden nature of what I was doing inspired me on a subconscious level to take photos that deliberately left a lot left unsaid about the context

References

Psychogeography and the Situationists

Psychogeography is an approach to geography that emphasizes playfulness and "drifting" around urban environments. It has links to the Situationist International. Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by Guy Debord as:

"the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals." "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities... just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape."

Situationist International

Going down the rabbit hole

Alice in Wonderland