Encoding the Landscape: The Le Mans Project
The encoded landscape, with its layers of natural and cultural features is an overarching theme in my work. I have been involved in a series of projects that connect visual art and geographic information science. This presentation will describe a “cultural mapping” project done in Le Mans, France with seven students from Ecole Superieure des Beaux-Arts du Mans and three students from Ecole Superieure Des Geometres et Topographes, an engineering and surveying school also in Le Mans. Students identified and made art works in response to sites in Le Mans that contribute to the culture and feeling of the city, but are somehow overshadowed or lost in the public eye. Art and engineering students collaborated using GIS technologies to analyze and map these sites. The mapping of cultural resources serves to give art a more prominent position in the public realm. My long-term intention is to involve students with becoming surveyors and stewards of art and culture within their communities. I am interested in GIS as a means for documenting and preserving creative culture or in using the language of city planners to put art on the map so to speak.
Keywords: Art, Science, Technology, Geographic Information Systems, Digital Mapping, Cultural Surveying, Community Art
Associate Professor of Art, Department of Art, University of Southern Maine