Images uploaded by contributors are algorithmically animated into a looped sequence of pans and zooms through a space. In the spirit of Lomography, Folk Cartography, and Oulipo, the project exists somewhere between a humanized system and a systematized human.
The project asks contributors to shoot images of a particular place according to a pre-defined regime of walking and photographing. Each photographer constructs a single “spoke” of a 360-degree array of views, rooted in a particular place, and uploads them into a server. A programmed animation then assembles the views into pans and zooms through the space.
Sites mappped so far include
- Holton Quad, Depauw University, Greencastle, IN
- Alexander Battenberg Square, Sofia, Bulgaria
- Namestie SNP – Bratislava, Slovakia
- North Quad, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- Time Square, New York City
Here are the instructions each photographer follows to construct a single spoke of the photographic array:
- Once your group has chosen a place to photograph, choose a common starting point for all participants.
- Next, each person should select some destination to approach from that starting point. Notice with your eyes where this path must end, where the body will meet a barrier that would require stopping or changing direction.
- Point your camera at that endpoint, and snap a picture.
- Next, walk exactly halfway to the endpoint. Aim your camera at the endpoint, and snap a picture.
- From your new position, walk again halfway to your endpoint. Aim your camera at the endpoint, and snap a picture.
- Repeat as long as you can, growing ever closer to your destination, but never reaching it.
- Return to the center, and either upload your images, or capture another spoke of the wheel.
Here are some early manual sketches of the project’s two main features: a pan and a zoom of a site created algorithmically from the same image set:
By way of process, here’s an edited video of my students constructing the Urbana node, along with some text I was thinking about at the time: