I’m glad the forecast is for sun tomorrow, because I’ll be spending the day in my local park at a Highgate Funday organised by Friction Arts. I’ll be sitting in the Heritage & Place corner of the ‘Arts Zone’, playing with a little bit of an idea I’ve been wanting to do something with for a while.
In March I was pretty inspired by My Street – Cuban Stories, a beautiful book from artists Diana Ivanova and Babak Salari, who worked in Cuba to help people tell the stories of their street to someone who’s never been there with words and photography. At the launch event Babak commented how much more mobile we are than most Cubans, moving quite often rather than spending our lives in the same areas, using me as an example:
“When I was talking to Nicky, I couldn’t really work out where she was from . [He’d gotten the Irish father/English mother/Welsh childhood/Midlands adulthood backstory.] But when I asked her what street she’s from, then I knew.”
And he was right – I’m from Vanfield Close in Caerphilly, where I spent a large part of my childhood. It’s not where I first lived and I’ve moved quite a lot since living there, but it’s the place that holds the most memories for me. Of course, this may change in the future.
Since then I’ve been enjoying seeing people use Google Street View to revisit ‘their street’ and talk about the memories they hold. So tomorrow I’ll be at Highgate Funday, talking to people about what they feel is ‘their street’, possibly revisiting those places on Google Street View and recording the stories they have to tell about them. I’m hoping to create a simple map from these recorded conversations. Whether it will work well or not remains to be seen – wish me luck!