Sensory Maps by Kate McLean

Smellmapping

Just sifting through my emails I happened across this gem. Designer Kate McLean has put together a set of images maps that attempt to visualize the variety of different sensory-scapes we pass through in urban space. Her maps, which summarize sensory experiences are visually interesting and thought-provoking.

The question that I always find myself asking is, should we be expressing other senses through the sense of sight? Maps (and, for the most part, digitally-produced designs) are visual in nature. The conversion of senses from the variety of senses into vision is likely to have some cost of interpretation. However, if the same emotional response to the sense can be translated adequately into the visual, perhaps it would be more ‘true’ to the experience? McLean somewhat admits to this with her Manchester Smellwalk maps – admitting the fact that you need to go to the site to have the true experience.

Still, there could be a ‘map’ of sorts that visualizes the tactile experience of urban spaces. Taking an open floorspace, different materials can be placed covering the ground in a spatially accurate manner, that give people the ability to ‘scan’ an environment with their feet. A smell map could consist of a grid of beakers with compounds in each, all oriented in a spatially accurate manner, so that a person could ‘scan’ the space with their nose. Ideas!

Link:Β http://www.sensorymaps.com/maps_cities/newport_smell.html

 

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