These where the questions we aimed to answer in a project lead by Dr. Parvin at Georgia Institute of Technology. Our goal was to explore the interrelated issues of knowledge and power, data and judgement, understanding and representation, facts and values through a hands-on design research project.
As a initial step on the journey of mapping North Avenue, we had a brainstorming session to get going on the ideas of the group.
Two ideas that I contributed with was one of the commissioned art/murals in the city and their
geographical positions as a way of understanding the street/city and dialogues carried out on social media (hashtags, geo-tagging etc) that could unveil stories and voices of the city.
Patterns, lines and colors
We divided the work which lead me going out on field to take photographs of the eastern parts of North Avenue while Alana researched the west parts as well as the commissioned art, artists etc.
I found this interesting as it meant that the colors schemes found on each side of the line where in sync witg other issues as well. There was a story there to be unfold. We decided to keep digging into this theme and story.
Important questions to answer
At this point, having had decided on the theme of our mapping, we had a set of questions that needed to be answered in order to make the project more clear. These where:
Power is evident both in the color schemes of the street as well as in the way the commissioned art is praised in media. The fact that some artworks (not commissioned) where covered up and removed in the western side of the line also speaks a story of its own, where certain art and/or voices are being governed and controlled.
Technical and social accounts where found in the social media voices where not all voices where heard and the "social media tone" and imagery showed mostly positive accounts.
The accounts that where heard the loudest and found by us where partial. However, if you do know the history and issues of the city you can add one plus one and find more related voices that show variety in the stories.
We do not mean to suggest that any of the murals or art are in any way bad for the city. We just want to discover and start a discussion about why they are positioned the way they are, and why some pieces are considered art and some not.
Form and Function
In my ideation process, I came up with the idea of a flip book. This came to me as I saw the different contrasting sides of the line as almost in symphony with eachother – almost answering eachothers differences. Therefore I suggested we create a physical aswell as digital prototype for some sort of flip artifact, showing the differences of the two sides of the line no matter how many times you flip the "page".
I created a physical prototype (a flip book), and Alana a digital which we pitched to the class and Dr. Parvin.
Exploring the digital further
The critique and dialouge session on the flip idea was a success. We where suggested to continue the exploration which lead us to think how we could portray the data found in other ways than the previous. We decided to look further into digital possibilities and created a video showing information about where the data was gathered, quotes found on the subject of commissioned art, and placement of images according to the two sides of the line.
The third and final form of the project lead us to discovering that the flip book idea was in fact the more appriciated form. Although we could show more of the thoughts behind data gathering – it turned out that the audience preferred having the agency of flipping for themselves and discovering the irony of the patterns found. Also, the more information that was given the more confused the audience became on what they where given.
We found this insight very helpful in continuing to work on the form and functions what arguments and voices we wished to show. Overall the project gave us great understandings of the mapping possibilities of North Avenue and how to portray these.
Lartey, J. (2018, October 23). Nowhere for people to go: Who will survive the gentrification of Atlanta? Retrieved March 4, 2019, from https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/oct/23/nowhere-for-people-to-go-who-will-survive-the-gentrification-of-atlanta