March 2008
Theatre Research in Canada;Spring2008, Vol. 29 Issue 1, p29
Academic Journal
In The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau asserts that "what the map cuts up, the story cuts across" (129), stressing the role of a nomadic, storytelling subject in the production of space. The [murmur] project, an experiment in site-specific psychogeography and cybercartography (http://murmurtoronto.ca), explores the relationship between spaces represented cartographically, spaces lived through audience explorations, and the (imaginary) representational spaces generated through oral histories. The site specific stories of participants, delivered by cell phone to audience members at specially marked sites, transform reified places into lived spaces that the user can explore and interpret in real time. [murmur] situates the subject simultaneously at the site of the referent and within an imaginary (aural) space of representation, compelling the audience member to reconcile the two. In exploring the representational frame (and its boundaries), the user becomes an active participant in the semiotic processes of spatial production. Thus, [murmur] can be seen as an important intervention: rather than accepting the reified city as a given, or acting on the subject in a way that limits semiosis, the places the project constructs through discourse encourage the emergence (or becoming) of a nomadic subject who produces new meanings through a process of spatial dialectics. Equally important, [murmur] foregrounds the need to rethink cities not as sets of buildings and objects, but rather as places where historical and subjective information is latent in every materiality and, similarly, where the materiality of city is seen as the result of the performative processes of spatial production.


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