Mapping Our City

Trigger Images

Saeed Arida

Palm City

Riley Nelson

When you arrive at Palm City, the bright and enthusiastic atmosphere will keep you wanting more. You’ll see golden sunshine shining on the content, relaxed and motivated people living in Palm City. You’ll feel alive, rejuvenated and in a place surrounded by the fascinating palm trees. Even though there is a lively atmosphere, there is nothing perfect about this city. In Palm City you will always be wanting more.

By Charli Tankel

Our collage

Charli Tankel


Kate Reed

I was in the Mapping Our City studio and my coaches were Andrew and Carmin.

Mapping Our City was split into two sections. The first week we read translations of fantasy stories and wrote about them. We went on long derives, which are long directionless walks, to observe what’s around you. On these derives we were looking for things that we thought were interesting for our themes, which were things we were interested in about our city. My original theme was old things, but then I noticed my eye kept getting drawn to sewer covers. I made a collage based on my derives.

            I worked with Eric for my collage. At first, we were pretty directionless with our art, just like our derive. I didn’t like my first collage, so I ripped I up. I then took the ripped up pieces and randomly glued them to the edges as a border of the paper and glued an old map of Cambridge in the middle. I liked my collage much better after this because it really illustrated the derive, and how it was about the journey of the derive rather than the final project.

            The next half of the studio was making an augmented reality. I did this part of the studio with Jacob. He had the idea of looking for colors around the city, and I had the idea of the sewer covers. We combined these ideas to come up with the story. Our story was that Cambridge is covered with murals, and public art. We decided that the artists that paint this art live in the sewers, and come out at night to paint.

            We made two Aurasma clips. An Aurasma is an app that triggers a video when you point at it. Our first Aurasma explains where the artists live, and how they are activists under ground. The other is a clip showing the people coming out of the sewer to paint.

            This studio was definitely not what I expected. The first half of the studio was hard for me to get engaged in. I wasn’t compelled by the difficult writings, or the long freezing derives- it was an incredibly cold January week in Cambridge.

The second half of the studio was also difficult, but in different ways. We made the Aurasma clips using Photoshop and After Effects. I knew the basics of Photoshop from Genius Camp, but After Effects was brand new to me.  I was definitely frustrated at times with the programs, but now I feel very comfortable with Photoshop and I feel like I can survive After Effects.

For this studio, Jacob and I split our tasks. I did a lot of the computer work and storyline, and he did a lot of the planning.

City Verde

Riley Nelson

When walking into the lush, mysterious forest that houses this vast city, nothing will seem out of the ordinary.  When looking around, nothing will appear out of place or inhabited.  There are rocks on the ground and thick tree trunks dot the topography of the land.  Only when you look up, to the treetops, will you see some clue of another civilization.  You will see monkeys swinging from luscious, green vines, or so you think.  Only the man willing to go out of his way will discover the entrance to the city.  Once found, you will see a ladder inside a hollowed out oak tree.  At the top of the ladder your mind will burst with surprise as it tries to take in and fathom the sights it sees.  Those monkeys you saw earlier are actually the residents of City Verde.  The city is their playground.  They swing from plant to plant in organized chaos as their world flourishes around them.  That is all they seem to want to do, or have to do in their everyday lives.  Their civilization is invisible to those who choose to ignore them, but they reward those who make the effort to explore.

By Riley Nelson

Trigger Images

Saeed Arida

City of Untitled

David Price

When you arrive in the city of untitled you appear one block away from the middle east restaurant and night club. After you pass the middle east you take a sharp left next to the beautiful mural painted on the back wall of the middle east. Then walk two blocks down as you will see a very unique colorful house on the corner of Brookline and franklin. This corner is very quiet and peaceful as well as very colorful and decorative. if you then walk one block northwest you wil find a very peaceful park with a metal fish sculpture in the center. Linking to this park is a path way to very open courtyard. This courtyard is peaceful yet hectic as it is the courtyard for three different office buildings. If you walk out the path and back to Franklin St. and walk two blocks you come across a very colorful and detailed mural painted on the west wall of the Cambridge public library. The library is very quiet and peaceful as talking is frowned upon. As you pass the library there is another colorful mural within the same block that means you're heading in the right direction. If you continue straight you'll appear back on Mass ave. Cross the street and you will find a very colorful and impressive graffiti mural on the left side of the alley way. This alley may be loud due to its location in relation to Mass ave; however, if you walk through the alley way you'll enter a parking lot with many bike racks and benches. This area is indeed quiet and peaceful. After leaving the alley take a left and walk two blocks, and once you cross the street you will be directly in front of the Middle East: Where it all begun.

Final Thoughts

Charli Tankel

     The purpose of this studio was to see cities through different perspectives. Our job was to figure out what we wanted to map. We used Central Square as our experimental location. We needed to be creative and willing to try different things if we wanted to be successful. We went on derives, casual walks, in which we were forced to see things through a different lense in hopes of discovering different parts of the city that we may have not seen or experienced before. 

     Our idea was to choose certain storefronts or landmarks to use as trigger images for an app called Aurasma. Aurasma augments reality so users can watch a story unfold right before their eyes as they hold up their iPad, or some such product, to the image. Making these extraordinary videos took a lot of work, patience, and technical competence. Our group's original plan was to make at least four Aurasmas, but we only ended up with two in the end.  The first trigger image was Cheapo Records. This video took about three days to complete as our idea morphed from writing a review to paying homage to James Brown. This Aurasma is trying to show the viewer that the store is worth visiting because it has new, cool vibe while also still recognizing the copious amounts of artists that make today's music what it is.  James Brown's record 'I Feel Good' was playing in the background in hopes to engage the viewer. The other trigger image we used was the store sign of University Stationery.  This Aurasma did not take as long because we had the same idea from beginning to end.  The woman who works at the store was very friendly and welcoming to us when we first visited, so we wanted to create a video that had that same type of hominess to it. The video ended up painting and drawing different homey scenes to an acoustic song.

     While making these different Aurasmas, we realized that everything around us has a different  story or history to it. We learned that being aware of our surroundings exposes us to the different sites the city has to offer. After this studio we have come to appreciate the hidden treasures that surround us.


Kate Reed


Kate Reed

When you arrive at Blode, the city of scarlet, you will see darkness. As you get aquatinted with Blode, you will notice things that you would have never imagined. As the night grows darker, the city grows deeper. You won’t feel alone. Around you there is an extravaganza; you are always surrounded in the city of scarlet.  Blode is a deep place. As you walk into the main buildings, made of Roman ruins, you’re drawn in by the deep scarlet color, and the flow of red surrounds you.