Witness That Place is a locative media project that explores interactivity through a series of marked online mappings and site-specific locations indicating stories of trauma in public urban spaces. Working with the psychogeography of the city, an interest in the city’s ability to repair itself from, what Nigel Thrift calls “urban trauma”, (Nigel Thrift: But Malice Aforethought: Cities and the Natural History of Hatred, p.135, 2005), underlines some of the thinking in behind this piece. The notion of urban trauma, and trauma in general, is interpreted here to allow for individual and thus relative perceptions of negative experience and relationship to place.
In creating an alternative geography of the city, which makes visible, memories of personal notions of trauma, i.e. broken hearts, accidents, and assaults, Witness That Place explores the tension between modes of storytelling, and witnessing.
Just as one could argue that a story exists, be it a film, a painting, or a poem, only through the interpretation of the beholder, so too is the paradigm of storyteller and witness developed in this project. Therefore, witnessing is not only in the form of a testimony to information but also in the form of a gesture or action.
WAYS to Witness That Place
Go to That Place
Witness That Place is currently situated in the City of Toronto. A witness is a person who views a story on the website and / or documents their personal journey to that public space. They may document their trajectory via digital photo, video or text message, and upload their documents on our website.
Share your Story
We all have stories that are sometimes painful and traumatic and sometimes these stories take place in public spaces. By sharing your experience, an everyday passerby becomes a witness. By creating a framework where these stories of trauma can be heard, and where the public can respond to them, we hope to “repair” these spaces by acknowledging their history. The act of “witnessing” the location creates a new association and thus evolves the narrative of that space. If you would like to share your story
Patricia Lee, plee[at]cdnfilmcentre[dot]com