Parisian spaces derive their appeal largely from their malleability: they are datums of political revolution, cultural change, and atmospheric ephemera in the city. As a result, the identity of Paris itself is in a constant state of flux. The city of light epitomizes ambient flux, as when clouds cover the sun, dimming the effervescent sparkling of the city’s limestone fabric; or when the sun falls below a constructed horizon of Haussman-era Mansard roofs.
Change occurs along seasonal cycles as well, as evidenced by the city’s people as much as its landscape—whether in the seasonal ebb and flow of natives and tourists or the influx of North African immigrants that has redefined Paris’s ethnic and socioeconomic makeup. The effects of these human flows on urban design and architecture are starkly evident in the explosive growth of outer arrondissements and less-affluent suburbs.
Mapping Paris is a personal take on the Situationist dérives whose revolutionary spirit inspired the Mai 1968 uprising, which temporarily turned the Rive Gauche into a war zone rife with pavé-throwing student revolutionaries, and can be considered to be at least partially responsible for François Mitterrand’s insistence on transparency in all of his Grands Projets. This project is an interactive, web-based, indexical map of sites visited and paths taken during a summer in the city. Sketches, photography, and interpretive mapping were compiled into a series of map-linked animated vignettes expressing the ephemeral qualities of ambience, movement and history in Paris.