Atmosphere is the combination of the elements of media as explored in my earlier posts. Image, sound and space together create this implicit media environment, we as individuals do not normally think about. Atmosphere is not just space (as in the solar system), it is the sensorial qualities a space (a room, an area etc.) emits. It is an emotive content that delivers a sense of experience. We can create and control atmosphere in ways that others can understand but not always in their conscious mind. There are different ways to create an atmosphere and everything within the space will ultimately affect it. For example, the atmosphere of a young child’s birthday party contrasts significantly to the atmosphere of a house party held by a high school student on the weekend his or her parents are away. We are attentive to what exists within a space in this way.
Generally speaking, all maps lead to something specific. The stereotypical Pirate’s maps in movies mark the spot to find buried treasure with an ‘X’, whilst the maps found in action movies, generally show the path the protagonist must follow to achieve their ultimate goal. In the same way, maps of Earth also show destinations.
Physical space is represented through maps. Maps are: “a diagrammatic representation of an area of land or sea showing physical features” or “a person’s face”. Cartography is the practice of making maps and even maps can be mapped. The broad definition ‘mapping’ encompasses, provides for endless possibilities as to what maps can illustrate and depict. To some extent, a map should be able to tell us about the world. We should be able to grasp what the map is telling us at a glance. When we make our own maps we are projecting how we see the world. We can also not include specific information in maps. By not including this information, however, different assumptions about the map are available.
Each map is different in its own way and how we perceive it depends upon the projection it makes. What destination or directions a map emphasises is a story of the world. It is also a discourse of information and an assumption about the facts hidden. When practicing cartography, there is value in creative maps. We do not want the same content again and again – it becomes recycled, obvious and objective. We want to approach cartography “…like an adventurer…” and create something that is subjective and highly emotive; something that is a journey in its own right.
Brogan Bunt’s 2009 paper, ‘Media Art: Mediality and Art Generally’, offered an insightful argument into the development of the Media Arts program at the University of Wollongong; however, I was intrigued by a few of the notions and concepts Bunt mentioned in his argument.
‘Media Art’ is “…concerned with modern technological forms of audio-visual representation.” Whereas, ‘New Media’ is “…concerned with the implications of the digital…” world. This is a contrast between the two forms I was loosely familiar with, that I had not thought about quite to the depth that Bunt has. It is insightful that one form of art is completely digital, through our new devices and technology, whereas the other form is primarily focused on poking holes in the medium of the first.
In the mentioning of medium, the definition Bunt provides for the things used to create art strengthened my understanding of what we could use in terms of exploring mediality: “…any material or imaginary carrier of information qualifies as a medium.”
Maps are diagrammatic representations and symbolic depictions of the relationships between the aspects in space – residential areas, roads, regions, lakes, oceans, specific places etc. the list continues. Maps can portray any space the designer wishes; real, planned or imagined.
For the mapping aspect of my ‘space project’ I wanted design something that was purely subjective and highly emotive in that respect. Furthermore, I wanted to extend upon the concept of Analogue Art Maps. Analogue Art Maps, “through architectural interaction, mapping social networks and psycho cartography”, “…record and generate connections… between individuals and the space in which they live.” Artist Hugh Davies intriguing examples of the dérive mapping technique include the placing of a 1971 map of Darwin in the city’s 24HR Art centre in 2008. Audience participation was invited to allow individuals to connect their favourite places to the space depicted on the map. The map, however, was an official road map from 1971, pre-cyclone Tracey; the town was re-mapped entirely after the natural disaster in 1974. The audience realised the differences in the map and were shown that an objective map can be wrong – we cannot always rely upon maps in this way. Hugh highlighted the differences between our experiences of a space and how an objective map will depict that same space. This notion that objective maps are different to our subjective opinions and experiences influenced me to create a map of the places I had travelled to in the past five years and depict what resonated with me when I thought back to my time spent in those places.
The Mockingbird wireframe (pictured directly above) illustrates the directions and places I wanted my map to show at its completion (pictured above). I wanted to establish Australia as my base (as it is where I depart for my journeys from), so I could then situate the remaining countries I had been too in their appropriate locations (not to scale, however). As pictured below, I had taped colour print outs of Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Hawaii on to my bedroom wall.
Using poly string, I cut lengths to join my departure place with my arrival destination, wanting to depict the directions the map was highlighting.
From Darwin I had travelled to: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Denpasar (Bali), Singapore and Vietnam.
From Sydney I had travelled to Hawaii (specifically Honolulu).
From Singapore I had flown to: Thailand and Hong Kong.
Once I had constructed the base of my map (as pictured above), with the directions planned, I wanted to explore each city I had travelled to individually to instill my experience and emotions onto it.
Beginning with Australia, I printed out in colour the images that resonate with each space on my map that I had been to in the last five years and joined it to the area with the poly string.
Darwin. I had called the Top End of the Northern Territory my home for the last ten years, yet the first thing that came to mind when I envisioned the town was crocodiles. Maybe it is a stereotype, but in my time living in the tropical gateway to Asia, I had ready many a story on the front page of our newspaper about crocodiles. Whether it be about pets, attacks, those that became lost in a suburban pool or those that were of extraordinary size, every self-confessed Territorian will have a story to share with you about the dangerous reptile.
Brisbane. I lived in Brisbane for a good portion of my childhood. It was my first home town; where I was born. I have flown back to the city at least once or twice a year in the last five years to see my family who still reside there. On my map, however, I have associated Brisbane with the archways that hang over the footpath into the city’s Southbank. The pink flowers that cover the arches were always beautiful in my eyes as a child, and remain so today. I have included the archways on my map, however, for the story that resonates most with me at Southbank: I was only about four at the time and I had left my sausage roll on a table looking towards the archways while I went to ask my Mum for a drink. When I got back to my Grandparents at the table, I was shocked to see that my food had disappeared. An ibis had stolen it. It was a horrid afternoon once that happened, I remember being in tears at the time.
Melbourne. The city I now call home. For me Melbourne is encaptured perfectly in the image I joined it with on my map – Flinders Street Railway Station, the Eureka Tower and a Tram. Melbourne is a city embracing the old with the new. Historical buildings, buildings with character and outstanding architecture. There is a large amount of beauty in the old style buildings and the buildings with character like Flinders Street Station. Moreover, the Eureka Tower in the image showcases the new buildings towering through the city. It is a magnificent sight to see the height from the Eureka Tower and the view it holds from the eighty-eighth floor. The tram, however, truly captures a significant characteristic of Melbourne for me – transport. Since moving to Melbourne, I have caught more trams than I care to note. Each is slightly different, however. The fabric of the seating, the graffiti, the path it takes and in general whether it is a new tram or an older style tram. It is a convenient method of transport to travel around the city. It is my prefered method of transport.
Adelaide. I only ever visit South Australia to see my Nanna, who lives two hours out of the city at Port Victoria. What resonates with me about the small town, however, is the Jetty. Located a street away from my Nanna’s home is the Jetty which my Dad, his brother’s and sister used to jump from as kids (before they thought they saw a shark that is). The last time I visited Port Victoria in 2009, the entire side of my Dad’s family was present for my Great Grandfather’s 100th birthday. We ended up catching squid at the Jetty to make calamari with later in the day. It was a time of healing and celebration for the whole family which is why the Jetty is so easily associated with Adelaide for me.
As for Perth and Sydney, I have not associated any images with the two cities. Whilst I have visited both, I was only in each for a brief stop over. In 2009 when I was headed to Port Victoria, to get to Adelaide we had to fly via Perth because we had booked our tickets two nights before we needed to leave. It was a spur of the moment decision to go for the family reunion, but it was the best decision at the time. We ended up waiting in the Perth Airport for three hours for our connecting flight. Similarly, I was stopped over in Sydney for the night in 2012 when my family was headed to Hawaii. I did not venture around the city for long enough to have much of an association with the place.
When I travelled to Hawaii in the December of 2012 and the January of 2013, I stayed in Honolulu and visited the ‘Main Island’ (as is depicted above). The image that resonated with me to attach to my map was a stereotypical postcard picture of what Hawaii is expected to be like. It wasn’t. Whilst I did enjoy the consumerism that was blatantly obvious in the Alamona Shopping Centre I stayed beside and the restaurants I ate at (all selling Kahuna Burgers, see Pulp Fiction (1994)), Honolulu in particular was not at all what I had expected it to be. It was not until I went to a Luau (that took place behind the grounds of a Disney Hotel might I add), that I truly appreciated the beauty in the traditional and stereotypical Hawaiian culture. We were given a shell or orchid lei upon arrival and were invited to watch a showcase of Hawaiian dancing throughout the last century whilst we feasted on the traditional food and experienced true Hawaiian culture. The Luau was a wonderful experience, more so than any of the consumerist activities I had participated in beforehand.
Over the last five years I have jetsetted from Darwin to Denpasar in Indonesia at least four times each year. When I was thinking about Bali, I could not think of one specific thing that resonated with me to perfectly depict the experience I have had there. The Bintang singlet seemed the most appropriate. It symbolises a trip taken. It symbolises the friendships my family and I have made with the locals (helping store owners, providing Balinese schools with supplies and even being invited to attend a wedding). The singlet symbolises Bali in one element.
I have been to Singapore twice, firstly in 2010 and then again in 2012. It was easily decided, however, that the Marina Bay Sands was what I associated the country with. Prior to visiting Singapore, my family and I had watched the documentary discussing the constructing of the grand hotel and we knew we had to see it for ourselves. It is a magnificent sight, I highly recommend viewing it just for the impeccable architectural work it showcases. It encases a world within it as well, housing guests, a casino, a shopping centre and the ArtScience Museum.
I stayed in Hong Kong for a total of two days in 2010 after visiting Singapore. We were there to go to Disneyland. Once we got over the initial shock of our terrible motel room and the toxicity of the pollution that clung to the air around us, we spent one of our two days at the themepark. It was an amazing experience. We did not know what to expect, but the themed rides and shows were utterly enjoyable.
Within Thailand I have been to Krabi, Phuket and Bangkok. I first visited Krabi and Phuket in 2010. In 2012, I visited Phuket and Bangkok. For me Krabi and Phuket resonate with the beautiful beaches they have to offer. The image above shows my family and I walking along a beach (of which to this day I still do not know the name of) we visited after driving back to Krabi from Phuket. We had ended up in Krabi after a mix up with our visas and our flights – Dad called it an adventure, I thought it was a learning experience – and soon realised that there was more for us to do as tourists in Phuket. We drove the three hours between the two places for the weekend. Bangkok, on the other hand, for me was associated with the floating markets. Vendors have marquees perched above a river wherein they hold out items they want to buy as you are raced down the river on a tiny canoe with a petrol motor. I didn’t buy anything when I visited, it was more so an experience of what the culture was like in this part of Thailand. It was exciting and everything was happening at once. There were even restaurants perched above the river you could visit. It was a beautiful environment.
I visited Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang in Vietnam in 2011. Both places offered a wonderful experience; I would love to go back to discover more of the culture and experience the country. What resonated with me about Vietnam, however, was the image above of a man riding his bicycle – a common sight. I loved watching the chaotically organised traffic in Ho Chi Minh outside of the Ben Thanh Market – it was so different to home. The image above, however, resonates with me when I think about Vietnam because the entire time we were there, my family and I really only ate the local dish – Pho`. It was a delicious soup which the Vietnamese tended to eat for breakfast. We ate it for lunch and dinner. I had even brought a phrase book along with me to learn the language and communicate with the locals in an attempt to learn more about the Vietnamese culture.
The map I have created is a symbolic depiction of the relationship between space and my emotions. I have designed an entirely subjective map that is correct by my own experiences. Each of the countries is linked in the travel direction I took to get there by the white poly string. Each place within the country I have visited is linked to an image that resonates with me as depicting my time spent abroad accurately. My interpretation of an Analogue Art Map reflects my subjective and emotive points of view.
In today’s society, we all view the world through consumerism. Following technology blindly, we fail to separate the virtual from the actual. The concept of psychogeography, however, invites us to explore and interact with our urban environments, detached from our devices.
Originating in the 1800s, the idea of ‘flaner’ meant to stroll or wander without a specific purpose. ‘Flaner’ was the product of the middle class in the post-industrialism period. Well-dressed upper and middle class men began wandering the streets, feeding off of the sensory data that would appear before them. Those who were exposed to ‘flaner’ became spectators of their city moved by a notion of freedom.
Psychogeography developed from the concept of ‘flaner’. We pick up resonances and feelings from certain spaces, but we cannot quite pinpoint why, nor do we know how to describe it. Psychogeography places an emphasis on drifting – much like the concept of ‘flaner’. It emphasises unplanned exploring; the wandering of one to explore and interact with the terrain and circumstances before them.
Dérive is a tactic of psychogeography which “…emphasises drifting around urban environments.” It is the practice of dropping one’s “usual motives for movement and action … to be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters…” found there. Dérive is somewhat of a ‘playful creation’ for human relationships.
This week I chose a colour to follow to wherever it could lead me for one hour. As I walked out of the Tribeca Apartments in East Melbourne (formerly the Victoria Bitter Brewery), I was greeted by lonely, green leaves hanging sparsely on the branches of potted trees and a faded green concreted area encasing these trees. My decision became quite instant – I would follow the colour green for the next hour, using a GoPro Hero 3 and a Samsung Galaxy S IV to document my journey.The tiles reminded me of a warn life, something so elegant that has become tired and overworked through the years. It was obvious these tiles once held more life to them – they were once new and lively. Now, they are the symbol of a thriving enterprise: serviced apartments, homes, workspaces and shops.
Looking up from the tiles, I was faced with the logo of the Fish and Chip shop within the Tribeca complex: Kiwi.The vibrant green of the Kiwi logo encourages faith in the business that promotes “…friendly service [and] vibrant atmosphere…” As I walked beyond Kiwi, noticing the satisfied customer’s huddled inside the shop laughing as they munched down on their lunch, I found myself on Albert Street. Green moss coloured the footpath. It was as though a secret was entwined within the concrete. A love affair of sorts between what should be there and should not.
I travelled up Albert Street, following the green moss tangled within the concrete. I came to an intersection, crossing to the side which the green man appeared first.
I had been on my journey for a short amount of time at this point and had already experienced the happenstance of the colour green five times, each with their own different meanings apparent. The energetic buzz as the traffic lights called me across the road lead me into an entrance for Fitzroy Gardens.
I spent the rest of my journey experiencing the environment Fitzroy Gardens offered to a passerby. Following the edge of the grass around the footpath led me to a water fountain already enjoyed by a young couple and a child of no more than three with her grandmother.
The young couple that watched the water fall into the surrounding pond were in a world of their own. Holding hands tightly and whispering to one another like every word was secretly important. It was as though everyone else in the Gardens were invisible; it was only the two of them that were important. The mood over the other side of the fountain, however, changed as the little girl noticed the “duckies” swimming in the pond. She was ecstatic. I could not help but feel the elation in her voice. I smiled to myself as I continued to listen to her chirp to her grandmother that she had to tell her “mummy about the duckies”. Leaving both the environments of the young couple and the little girl, I continued to follow the grass around the path.
The quaint marquee (pictured above) that invited its guests to follow it by a path of white petals was the next highlight of my journey. The marquee itself, with the flower petals, evoked happiness in me as I came to the conclusion that it was more than likely someone married here today. It would have been the most beautiful sight. Another couple in their own world where only the two of them mattered. Whatever else that was happening around Fitzroy Gardens at the time would not have mattered to the couple and their guests (if any), only the moment in time was worth the thought.
As I continued on my way, I crossed paths with a man pulling along his suitcase.
One could only assume he was heading to airport at some stage of the day, but that may not be his story. Seeing him walking through the Gardens made me curious – I wanted to ask him if he was going to the airport, but he was in a rush. With my mind pondering the man and his suitcase, I continued on my way, following the sparse leaves on the trees that towered over me and the grass that lined the footpath. I found myself at the Model Tudor Village.
The Model Village reminded me of the studies I did in High School about the Tudor Monarch. It was nostalgic for me. I had fallen into the memories of year eleven – what I had learned, who I had class with and what I missed about where I was two years ago resignated within my mind. The elderly couple behind me, however, remarked that it was “…such a lovely fairy garden.” It was not important to correct them. They saw it as a fairy garden, as I saw it as memories.
The flowers residing across from the Model Tudor Village was what I saw next. A beautiful composition of different tones of purple. The colour left me deep in thought as travelled to continue my journey. I was inspired to reflect upon what I was experiencing.
I continued my journey, this time following the darker green of the jungle-like trees that encased a small bridge hovering over a barren bank a creek could flow through.
The darker shades of green this area of Fitzroy Gardens encompassed reminded me of home – Darwin. Quite a lot of the suburban and rural areas of the Top End of the Northern Territory are remarkably similar to the above images of the enclosed bridge at the Gardens. It was surprising to me to see this jungle-like area of Fitzroy Gardens as the previous aspects of my journey had involved me following the lighter green grass, on a less enclosed path. I was, nonetheless, inspired to think that I would come back to this part of the Gardens at a later date when I may be able to see a flowing creek. Continuing over the bridge, I came to another open place, where families were having picnics under the shade of the trees and children were riding their scooters along the footpath.
It was a cheerful sight. Family members and friends chatted away, laughed and thoroughly enjoyed themselves on a beautiful day (wherein the weather in Melbourne stayed constant). The brother and sister pictured above raced ahead of their parents on the path, leaving them behind with a giggle that faded the more they concentrated. The parents picked up their pace; a leisurely stroll, turning into a power walk. I was captivated. Joy was all around me.
The grass eventually led me to a place within the Gardens surrounded by tourists, experiencing the sight in a different manner to I.
Captain Cook’s Cottage is another remarkable form of history hidden within Fitzroy Gardens. When I first moved to Melbourne I came to experience the Cottage myself. It was wonderful to learn that such a rich piece of Australia’s history was so well maintained. I was amazed at how tiny the Cottage was: my bedroom is the size of the entire bottom floor living area. When I made it to Captain Cook’s Cottage this time, I sensed the excitement of the tourist group. It was intriguing to see that the group had the same reaction to the Cottage as I did the first time.
My journey continued as I followed more instances of the colour green that lead me past gardens of beautiful orange and white flowers. The gardens led me to Sinclair’s Cottage (pictured below), “…one of the earliest substantial buildings constructed in the Fitzroy Gardens…” as the sign read. Named after the the head gardener in the 1860’s and 1870’s, Sinclair’s Cottage “…was used as a residence by caretakers until the 1990’s.”
I was amazed by the history the second cottage in Fitzroy Garden’s displayed. It provided me with more of an understanding of Victoria’s history – something we’re not taught about to a significant in the Territory. The beauty of the quaint cottage was outstanding. Sinclair’s Cottage was the last highlight of my journey also, as my hour following the colour green was nearing its end and I had found my way to the Wellington Parade exit of Fitzroy Gardens.
As my journey ended, I reflected upon the dérive I had experienced in an hour of following instances of the colour green. I had drifted my way around the closed worlds of couples, children, families and friends, and even individuals (such as the man with his suitcase). Had my experience been transformed into a soundscape, the listener would be immersed into a musical composition of cars rushing past, traffic lights signalling to walk, hushed conversations and exploding bursts of laughter, and the chirping of children and birds. Moving around Fitzroy Gardens without a goal in mind, opened my eyes and ears to an experience of observation. I was immersed into the relationships of others with the Gardens: a date place, a play place, a picnic spot, a tourist destination. I was drawn to reflect upon what the attractions of Fitzroy Gardens meant to myself and everyone I encountered in my hour spent chasing the colour green.
Phenomenology is the study of things that are present before us. Space is always present before us. Space is also a medium – it is were we store, record and retrieve information from in the terms of virtual space. Like virtual space, actual space (what surrounds us), goes beyond our known senses. It is the least explored and most overlooked medium. What appears in space can be familiar and unfamiliar, but what each different space has in common is ourselves. Once we experience space, it becomes place – a particular position, point, area. It becomes a location, physical or experiential.