_ This Concept > plot this concept: 1to1 -- Keyhole Memory / Mediated Psychocartography


Confessional poetry. Geocaching.


Google bought the Keyhole satellite photography database and made it Google Maps. MSN has something similar called Virtual Earth. In some areas of the world, the google mapset is more detailed; in other areas, the MSN mapset is more detailed. Paul Neave built a cool flash interface that combines both: flashearth.com. You can bookmark and save specific locations as discrete URLs. The cool thing about flashearth is, unlike MSN Virtual Earth and Google Maps, there's no search field. So you can't just type in the name of the location. You have to start macro and zoom in manually. It requires a bit of visual recognition and spatial cognition. You "feel" your way there and in so doing you get a haptic sense of where "there" is in relationship to "everywhere else."


Memory is intrinsically tied to location. Now via flashearth I can access my personal "memory locations" from on high. I can then connect each location with its correspondent memory by posting a discrete URL of the location with a text description of the memory. Others can access my locational memories, "surf them," then post their own.

Because flashearth is a database, when I post the discrete URL of a memory location, I'm not just sharing a static satellite image of that location; I'm sharing a locational node which is connected in context to a database of the whole world. The reader of my post is thus able to navigate the areas surrounding my locational node, and contextualize my location with other locations in her personal history/memory.


Acquire a URL (psychocartography.org) and set up a guestbook structure with the following requisite form fields where anyone can post:
1. The URL of their location from flashearth.com
2. The real world name of the location (where and what it is)
3. The date of the memory associated with the location (may be a date range. may be subjectively described.)
4. A brief description of what that location means to the person in terms of their personal memory (may include events, people, moods, etc.)
5. Optional: URL of any collateral online material that would supplement or enrich the memory (could be text, photographs, video, audio, etc.)

These posts can take several forms:
1. They can be straightforward and autobiographical ("this is out back of the Circle K in Detroit where I kissed Jane Harlowe for the first time. We were both 13.")
2. They can be downright cryptic and totally personal (almost like notes to one's self).
3. They can be fantastical/fictional ("this is the winter palace floating on a man-made lake in Beijing where I gazed into the lotus pond as a young girl.")

Discourage generic tourist posts ("this is where I saw the eiffel tower/pyramids/mt. rushmore"), unless there is some more interesting personal/idiosyncratic memory involved.

simply post your own location/memory combinations at any online listserv or bulletin board and ask people to respond with their own posts.

Call For Participation

Feel free to respond with your own location/memory combinations.

Sample Post

Here are a few actual location/memories from my life:


Dutch Cove, North Carorlina
Winter 2005
The gap between our cove and Cruso, the town beyond. This winter, when the brush has died back, I aim to hike over this pass.
cf: dutch cove bubblegum card

Sao Paulo, Brazil
Gallery where I stared at that Bosch painting for so long.
cf: bosch bubblegum card

Jerusalem, Israel, Western Wall
Prayed for unknown things in tongues.

Fairhope, Alabama, Seminole Ave. Beach
the year I met Julie
Bayfront beach down the road from my rental house. Dancing in the moonlight alone.

Mobile, Alabama, Baxter Ave. House
Caroline's first three years. Began playdamage.

Mobile, Alabama, Wilmer Hall Orphanage, Murray Cottage
4 days on, 3 days off as a house parent. Good memories of us all gathered around singing "Romans 16:19" with Zach playing drums on the garbage can.

Mobile, Alabama, Mary B. Austin Elementary, Old Ann (oak tree)
4th grade
Kicked off of the safety patrol for tree-climbing.

Mobile, Alabama, woods behind our house on N. Carmel Drive
High School
He is there and He is not silent.

Sewanee, Tennessee, The Dairy
Mysterious, fragrant days. All invitation and promise; Cocteau Twins soundtrack.

Lafayette, Louisiana, Maw Maw + Paw Paw's swimming pool
Dad flipping Andy and me high up in the air. "Stay balled up. 1, 2, 3..."
cf: lafayette bubblegum card

Lakeside, Montana
Read the book of Isaiah aloud in six hours. At the very end of the last chapter it started to rain.
cf: the view

St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
Walked around the perimeter of the island in 4 days.
cf: the banner we carried

Carroll County, Virginia, Joy Ranch Boys & Girls Home
My first teaching job. X marks the spot of the storage room where there was an upright piano on which I wrote this song for my wife the year before we met: "you have ravished my heart"

Valle de Bravo, Mexico
The Rose of Jericho and Bougainvillea
cf: valle de bravo bubblegum card

Gainesville, Georgia, Brenau University Women's Center
courting Julie
I would stay here when I went to visit Julie while she was in college. We would watch videos, eat snacks, sit on the couch in the commons room, and be glad.

Providence Canyon, Georgia, outside of Eufaula, Alabama
right before my job at Integrity Music
Before we had kids, back when Julie and I used to go stay at Alabama state parks for fun. I was between jobs and very depressed looking into this big gorge. Soundtrack: The Verve's Urban Hymns.
cf: the view

Styx River, Alabama
growing up
Sandbar where Dad and I camped in cold weather, where I first looked at the moon through his glasses, saw details I hadn't seem before, and realized I also needed glasses.
cf: juniper landing bubblegum card

Cold Mountain, Shining Rock Wilderness, North Carolina
There's no through road.