Street CARTographies

“Maps are about relationships among which meanings circulate.”

Denis Wood, Rethinking the Power of Maps

More than half of the world’s population are classified as “urban dwellers,” but their experience is hardly unified. For example, drastic socio-economic disparity and unequal access to resources occur in startling proximity in dense urban areas. Further, the city itself is richly woven with public and private spaces constructed through the collective action of individual citizens. Using a street cart as a vehicle for exploration and dialogue, Street CARTographies will travel across a city, exploring the relationships between people from diverse neighborhoods and communities.

This multi-day participatory urban intervention visits plazas and other public gathering places throughout the city. The cart unfolds to serve as a base for a community map and visitors to the plaza are invited to pin locations in a city that are important to them. Participants  are given a balloon corresponding to the color of the pin, printed with the text, “I am on the map” As they move through the plaza with their balloons, participants effectively turn the plaza itself into a map representing all of the places important to its’ inhabitants.

Following the intervention, the maps, accompanying documentation including photographs and videos, and the street cart itself is installed in an exhibition space in order to further the dialogue and include other participants.

Street CARTographies maps the relationships—both visible and invisible—that shape the meanings of the city for its inhabitants. These maps are not only containers for information but rather bridges between people, ideas and places. By visualizing the relationships at work in public spaces, this project articulates the construction of space in both geographical and human terms.

This project is a collaboration between Hatuey Ramos Fermín and Elizabeth Hamby we are artists and educators working together to investigate the dynamics of urban space; exploring the histories of buildings and neighborhoods, and tracing the flows of people, ideas and products. Combining documentary strategies with performance and fine art, their collaborative practice seeks to articulate concepts of origin, public-ness and private-ness, and the sense of place.