Flick Harrison on Mon, 16 Dec 2013 13:55:00 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Interactive Community Map

Hey Nettime,

I haven't shown this off here yet and I figured you folks might have some interesting responses to this.

I'm in a community-engaged arts group called Something Collective, and over the last few years we have gathered dance, video, puppet shows and audio for an interactive community map of two neighbourhoods - Renfrew-Collingwood and Sunset, both in Vancouver.

The product is essentially a database documentary about this moment in the community, in the spirit of Harry Smith. The purpose, however, was to encourage community-building through art: new connections and tendencies emerge when people come together creatively.  The process itself is a part of the piece.

Here's the first one we made:


And the second one which is a little bigger and richer...


I used ThingLink which allows you to make interactive, clickable images and embed video, sound, images and text.  This was after some extensive research into tools (I could dig that up if anyone is interested) which ranged from hiring a separate designer, to learning jquery.

ThingLink was perfect in terms of the time and budget I had available.  It looks really nice, works reliably, and has good support.  Where it comes up short is in visual inflexibility, some limitations on the complexity of the interactivity, and the fact that it is proprietary and served by someone else who may change it or disappear without notice.  This last applies equally to the sounds embedded from soundcloud, the videos from youtube and the pictures from flickr.

The project was funded by Parks Board Community-Arts money and supported by community centres in each area.  In Vancouver the Parks Board is a separate body with elected members who run parks, arts, sports + rec independently from City Hall.

- Flick

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