Mapping Curatorial Practice

History Truck Curatorial Reflexive Map

The link above is a Google Map Engine Lite creation used to explore the places of curatorial practice for the History Truck in East Kensington.  It was very tempting to map warehouse fires, as I am creating a work for Manufacturing Fire that heavily uses mapping as a storytelling tool, but instead I decided to use the map as a place for reflexivity.

I chose, in exploring the practice of curating for History Truck, to map three different types of sites– places of events, places of connection, and places spent “off the clock.”  In this way, the Urban Worship Center and the Philadelphia Brewing Co. were important because EKNA meets at these spots, but places where I met with the truck team (such as Rocket Cat Cafe) also matter.  Finally, my favorite place to eat lunch in EK– Thang Long Noodle Restaurant– and my favorite cafe (Leotah’s, which is now closed and so also a memory!) are also on the map because it adds to understanding where I spent time as a curator talking to people, but also feeding and thinking between meetings.  It makes the place of East Kensington more alive in terms of what I did as a human and curator as opposed to just doing my “job.”

I think maybe I like this map so much because it makes the process illustrated below so much more human and place-based: view truck_process.

I chose to code them in the color purple by range as a test, and I loved it because it somehow coded the events that were similar in similar colors.  I have to be honest that I do not understand why that happened– I think it was because they used similar verbiage in description.  I chose the color purple as an aesthetic because purple and chartreuse are the truck’s colors.  To make the map more dynamic, I added photos to each place that reflected what they look like– either in terms of the event or the spot.

It could be interesting, thinking about a curatorial map moving forward, to keep a journal while working on the project when I shift my focus to North Philly north of Temple.  How neat it would be to read blog entries from a curator based on events and places on a map with photos.  And hey, maybe it could even have a sound component– as obvious as an inspirational oral history moment to a song clip from the music I listened to on the way to or from the event I wrote about in the entry.

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