Psychogeography and the butterfly

The Butterfly:

There is the shape of a butterfly hidden in the street map of Plymouth.


We walked the street with a gps tracker enabled to that on our return we had the wings of a butterfly drawn on our map.

Plymouth’s pedestrians are subservient to its cars.

Pedestrians are relegated to navigating through dark tunnels; climbing over busy lane of traffic; vulnerable to parking cars in car parking areas without paths or designated walkways, crossings.

Each environment is divided up by roads.  The pedestrian is a second class citizen.

Pedestrians are vulnerable.

The city has many different areas defined by its use.

Urban streets, quiet during the day and cobbled to ensure a unique sound.

Setting off on our walk to find the butterfly we were unarmed as to what to expect.  What we found was a mixture of rundown streets with houses from a bygone age with architectural features from a grander more prosperous time.

We walked past playgrounds empty of children and adults were well worn grass less areas were dark and grim in contrast to the winter grass.

Walking on cobbled streets holding a state-of-the-art gps tracing our route so that we can print it out or see it on a screen at the end was a new experience.  Once we had walked the route the map had a different feel to it. We knew the streets that we had walked. They weren’t just a line on a page and now the map was enhanced as it now had a butterfly embeded in it!

The idea of tracing steps to create pictures is novel.  It could be taken further so that areas are shaded and full pictures created.

Working using Plymouth as a canvas made our work the largest art work we have produced to date using one of the smallest devices to create it ie the mobile phone.

The use of the tracker app could be enhanced by turning on google field trip and show the data that is now produced when you pass a trigger.  Google beacons will enhance our experience further and perhaps when these are added into the resulting screen shot or print there is another dimension to be added.

An audio track can be added. This could be Siri dictating the route to take, or a sound scape of each street we walked. The sound of sea gulls. Traffic sounds, sounds of people and industry clog the air.

Would the route we took be changed if the weather had turned bad or that we had to rush it to get somewhere. Would our experience changed if we had these other distractions been present?

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