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Pathmapping, sharing the everyday

A man who build a road over a path in Bergen, Norway.Stories from the local people make the
paths alive. When pathmapping, I ask people met on the path three questions: 1.) Where are you going and where to you come from? 2.) Do you often use this path to go between these places? 3.) Do you have memories or other stories related to this path? Usually these questions are not the only things discussed. It is a meeting of two or more people, sharing a moment and exchanging experiences.

There are language challenges if I work in a foreign country and barriers of meeting a stranger where ever we might be. I have given piece of paper where my questions have been translated to a local language, but these notes haven't worked anywhere. People just don't want to do that, they read the paper and look at me confused. Anyway, it would really not be a discussion then but a gallup. Also a translator or local guide wasn't very good idea, because then the whole moment of meeting a person became somehow too much for people - it wasn't easy going anymore.

People tend to think I am a lost tourist and try to find some sort of reasons or explanations why we meet. Of course, I do understand that I am all the way tourist even though I try to find something tourists probably normally don't look for and be more sensitive. Not all people have this "reason for meeting" -problem: I have met i.e. elderly people who have all the time in the world to talk with me and they don't hesitate one bit to start conversation without any reason. And we have jolly good time.

I also make video clips from the paths. When we enter a place, we don't just see one thing at a time. Our eyes move rapidly and pick visual and audio information of the location. I stand in one spot on the path and make three different video clips from different angles. I try to find perspectives that visualise functions of the path, atmosphere or are just simply visually attractive. I then compose all these three clips into a one clip where they play simultaneously. I call them video triptychs. I know they can't show the real eye movement and information picked but the main idea is to give the feeling of almost simultaneous visual information of the specific location on the path. It is connected to the moment and shortly scans the feeling of the exact point in the space. Most of the material on the path maps are actually videos, because sometimes it happens that there are no-one using the path no matter how long I wait in the bushes for the videos I don't necessarily need people.

And then...

Stories and videos are presented as a map that includes the long/lat coordinates of the locations they are from. Viewers can explore the paths in the Internet or they can copy the coordinates to their own GPS devices and visit the location marked in the map to form their own point of view. The map service used, Tagzania, have tag words. Each locations on the path maps have their own tags i.e. 'home', 'hiking', 'lake' etc. By browsing the tags, the connections in between different paths in different countries can be explored. It must be noted, that Elephant Paths is not a scientific project. The relations between stories and videos in different places are connected by the intuition of the pathmapper, path functions and people's stories.


Copyright © 2004 - 2010 Mari Keski-Korsu