I’ve been in reclusive mode: no smartphone, almost no Internet, no TV.
On the rooftop of my building there’s a small room that I´ve turned into a studio. I’ve spent countless hours there. Transcribing journals––written up to ten years ago–– into Evernote.
Each transcribed notebook has its own geographic scale. Some span continents, others, city blocks.
A notebook showing a route within Manhattan.
A selection of journals written all over the world.
The idea, as I’ve mentioned before, is to map the contents within networks of text. It’s an experiment in relational cartography, a personal exploration of how we relate to space and change over long periods of time.
I’ve spent the first three months of the project transcribing as many notebooks as I could. I was only able to do 10. One sixth of the total.
It’s still a massive amount. In Evernote: 880 entries. When printed, almost 1,500 pages of notes.This is personal material, with intimate feelings, obsessions and anxieties. I have even recorded the death of loved ones.
When printed, 10 notebooks amount to 1500 pages of text.
As the words jumped from the paper to the screen and back, I started gaining distance from the original inscription, realizing that each text points beyond itself to others, and towards a context that can never be exhausted. The tags created through Evernote offer constellations of meta-data based on subjective relations, feelings I had towards people I met along the way.
For the visualization I´ve been working with Juan Arturo Garcia, a designer who merges critical theory with art. He has been able to come up with a beta version of the constellation. The first time I saw it, I was awed.
A network of 10 journals written in more than than 20 cities around the world.
“New York City”, “Loneliness”, “Café”, the tags seemed to stretch out endlessly, each one referring to the next in a web rich in geographical references that, nonetheless, is able to avoid cartesian thought. It is a map of myself, but it is also intended to be a reflection of how we, as humans, move through spaces in our everyday life.
Ultimately, the idea is for the user to become a flaneur. To be able to stroll through a series of entries as one does through a street, jumping from “Airport” to “Lobby” to “Hospital”.
A network of journal entries related to the tag “Home”.
The final product will be a printed book and a website. The book will have reflections on the process itself, dealing with various subjects, from new geographies to global cities and changes in the meaning of home. The website will contain the visualization with a selection of notes from 10 years of personal writing.
The whole project is designed to reflect on the tension between public and private, digital and analogue. Each new piece of writing becomes a new element within the web of interrelations, redefining the overall content and opening new opportunities for interpretation.
The feedback loop turns on itself as I continue writing in notebooks about the process. Sooner or later, this content will need to be transcribed. In this sense, the project could last a lifetime.
Originally published at portable-identity.com on June 30, 2015.