Neighborhood Narratives uses alternative technologies, basic mobile recording devices, on-line open-source tools such as blogging, folksonomies and Google Maps along with analog resources such as sketch maps to produce context rich stories that portray the world, city, or neighborhood. It explores the real and metaphorical potentialities of mapping, walking, and wayfinding as methods of developing attachments, connecting, and constructing narratives in a virtual and spatial locality. Neighborhood Narratives offers a specific and unique situation from which to critically consider the locative arts and locative media in relation to the context of the city and to explore new and old models of communication, community and exchange. The project invites public participation, engages interactively, and encourages participants to consider their vocabulary of movement in space.

In the complexity of the contemporary city, new experiences of community are needed to fill the need for significant encounter. The international aspect of the class, seeks to create networked relationships of place and alternate spaces of encounter. The International exercise has brought together students from Rome, London, Tokyo, and the US. In each location, the cultural investigation has a different focus, depending on the traditions of the community. Students video-chat with each other, create local projects which they map to the online class social network, and participate in an exercise, where international teams of students create a shared project. In addition, students have the opportunity to travel to these various locations to compare the virtual experience of place to the physical one.

Neighborhood Narratives does not obligate sophisticated technology or design skills into its methodology. Instead it asks students to conceptually understand some of the processes of the mediated city such as negotiating geographic, political, ideological spaces and reconsidering the issues that they deal with in everyday life the things they carry with them, the cell phones they use, the soft city they walk in, etc. To reconstruct their everyday assumptions in order to use them as a vocabulary and set of tools for looking at themselves and the world creatively and to articulate a personal vision in that form as a final project (Iverson, Sanders 2008).

Reference: Iverson, Hana. Sanders, Rickie. 2008. The Neighborhood Narratives Project, New Dialogues with/in the Mediated City; from MediaCity: Situations, Practives, Encounters.
Editors: Frank Eckardt, Jens Geelhaar, Laura Colini, KatharineS. Willis, Konstantinos Chorianopoulos, Ralf Hennig. Publisher: Frank & Timme, Berlin; expected date of publication: 2008

 

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