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March 15, 2005

Games you can play

The Gates celebrate repetition. Each gate alone was an unremarkable object. Put 7,500 of them together, and they effect a radical change in perception.

The Gates Memory Project is also about repetition, of photographs instead of physical objects. Each collected image has unique traits - time, place, photographer, subject, light - that can be abstracted and appreciated for their membership in a set. When I look at the 2,000 images that have been submitted so far, I'm amazed by the formal games you can play. Photos of the same place, or photos at the same time. Iconic viewing angles. Single gate against blue sky. Saffron fabric against sunshine. Rows of gates receding to a vanishing point. Rows of gates crisscrossing the frame. Gates framing people. Gates framing other gates. Gates photos in a pile ("gatesmemory" at Felix Turners' postcard browser), gates browsable by tag.

How about Gates on a map? Collective memory stimulated by shared activity and a collaborative effort to annotate gatesmemory images by location. I hope that project participants would willing to lend a hand with a widespread spatial annotation project. All it would take would be few interface modifications to Mappr and participants familiar with the park.

I am in the strange position of having never seen Central Park without its saffron makeover, but the reactions of visitors made it clear that it was a changed environment. Our host in New York made a point of leading us through parts that remained ungated, to provide a brief view of the bare park in winter.

Posted by michal migurski at March 15, 2005 6:08 AM


Is it more interesting to see where in the park pictures were taken, or where in the city/region/country/world the photographers are from?

Mappr is wonderful at tracing a theme or subject across the country. But when the theme or subject is site-specific, perhaps it is more interesting to trace the various eyes of the various beholders...People came from far and wide.

If it were a map of Central Park, what kind of resolution do you imagine?

Posted by: ben vershbow at March 15, 2005 8:04 PM

having spent a lot of time in the park with the gates, i found much more interesting variation with tme of day (sunrise vs. high noon) or weather (snow vs not-snow). might be very interesting to try to gather pictures of exact same spot at diffrerent times of day and under different weather conditions.
anyone reading this want to volunteer to try to collect such metadata so that something interesting could be done.

but back to your broader point -- there are lots of different categories one could sort by -- perhaps we should encourage everyone to make suggestions for a list that can be used to guide meta-data collection

Posted by: Bob Stein at March 15, 2005 9:34 PM

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