Sensory Map

Rough Field Notes: FullSizeRender-4

Sensory Map of  Social Patterns in a Select Area of Union Square  (Watercolor and Ink): 


Inspired by examples of aesthetically pleasing sensory maps shown in class, I wanted to create a map that was simple yet very painterly. I tried to include as much information from my field notes as possible without it being overwhelming. In my notes, I focused a lot on gender, technology, and social interactions at the points between Forever 21, Whole Foods, Union Square subway station, the stairs, and the park. I chose to represent women as red dots and men as blue dots. If a person was wearing headphones, I drew a circle around the dot to suggest how they were in their own bubble. I noticed that there were significantly more men wearing headphones than women, hence there are more circled blue dots. People only wear headphones when they are alone, which is why the circled dots usually are not within a close parameter of another dot, except in clustered areas such as the subway exits, and the mens’ section in the back of of Forever 21. While the ratio between men and women is about the same around Whole Foods(since it is a grocery store), there are significantly more women around Forever 21. Men always enter the store alone with headphones unless entering with a woman.

People do not wear headphones when interacting with each other, which is why not many headphone users are in the warm reunions locations. The warm reunions locations are places where I noticed many people would meet up: in front of the park, at the sides of the subway stations, and on the Union Square stairs. However, along with every warm reunion location comes a loneliness location: people on their phones, constantly looking up, waiting for someone. I chose a cool blue-green color for loneliness and a warm red-orange color for warm reunions. I chose to make the color of loneliness dominate the map because of how technology-controlled most of the people I observed were – they were not making eye contact with strangers and were slouched down, looking at their phones.

I noticed foul smells around the chess playing areas, and chose to represent the smell with a brown color. As shown in the map, there were three chess players and one customer, who was a woman. I tried to show movement with the dots to make it seem as if people walked around the chess area, avoiding the bad smell and a challenge to a game of chess. I also slightly suggested where the sidewalks were by arranging the dots in a slightly linear motion.

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