East Paris Emotion Map - Christian Nold, 2008

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East Paris Emotion Map

The East Paris Emotion Map is the result of a two day intensive workshop by Christian Nold with 18 local people commissioned by Gallery Ars Longa. The participants explored the area around the 11th arrondissement whilst equipped with the special Bio Mapping tool invented by the artist. The device measured the participants' emotional arousal in relation to their geographical location in the city. On their return from the walk all the participants viewed their maps and guided by the artist analysed and annotated their own arousal data.

On the map, the walks are represented by blue lines tracing the paths that people walked. The areas of high emotional arousal are represented by red clusters. Arousal is not necessarily positive or negative and is best thought about in terms of heightened attention to ones body or surroundings. The white dots indicate where the participants added textual annotations to describe the variety of events and sensory stimuli that caused their emotional reactions during their walks.

On the map we see an area of Paris on a Saturday and Sunday afternoon in April 2008. We see a mixture of people, events and places and the complex ways these are interwoven with each other. The general ambience is one of calmness but there are a few clearly defined annotation and high arousal clusters. The Situationists from the 1950's referred to them as 'unities of atmosphere'. While they thought of these unities as creating a fractured city of contrasting ambiences, this particular map of Paris presents a continuous 'event space' of flowing interactions. Right in the centre of the map, the main arousal cluster near the Parmentier Metro Station, is the place where the participants set off from and had to wait to connect to the satellites. On the Place de la République is a prominent arousal cluster caused by a Chinese, pro-Olympics demonstration on the Saturday and a Berber demonstration on Sunday in the same location. The cemetery in the east is a particular high arousal area as well as the busy shopping area on Rue du Faubourg du Temple. Apart form these we see a huge diversity of spatially distributed events from stolen kisses, football games, surprise encounters with friends, 'lascars' and beautiful views of the city.

Artwork and Design
Christian Nold 2008

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Christian Nold

Christian is an artist, designer and educator. In 2001 Christian wrote the well received book ‘Mobile Vulgus’, which examined the history of the political crowd and which set the tone for his research into participatory mapping. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2004, Christian has led a number of large scale participatory projects and worked with a team on diverse academic research projects. In particular his ‘Bio Mapping’ project has received large amounts of international publicity and been staged in 16 different countries and over 1500 people have taken part in workshops and exhibitions. These participatory projects have a strong pedagogical basis and grew out of Christian’s formal university teaching. He is currently based at the Bartlett, University College London.

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