An Artist is Making a Map of Manhattan Using Only Handwritten Directions From Strangers
Think about it, when was the last time you asked for directions? Or even used a paper map? Armed with smart phones and fancy GPS apps that map the route to your destination in milliseconds, asking a random person for directions is an increasingly rare occurrence. New York conceptual artist Nobutaka Aozaki is exploring the act of asking for directions in his ongoing art piece, Here to There, by gathering a collection of impromptu hand-drawn maps he obtains from complete strangers. Dressed as a tourist in a souvenir baseball cap and carrying a Century 21 shopping bag, the artist hits the streets around Manhattan and approaches random pedestrians to inquire about directions through the current part of the map he’s working on.
One of the most common scenarios when asking strangers for directions is their habit of pulling out a smart phone to start typing in an address, after which he insists on leaving with a drawn map on whatever written surface is available: torn sheets of notebook paper, napkins, or even paper plates. Aozaki tells Spoon & Tamago that his goal is not to make a complete map, but to instead document his daily routine and his myriad interactions with people, sort of like a mapped diary.