Brennan and Fawn were also asked to map both physical locations and emotional experiences on a large-scale map of Los Angeles. This included identifying places they go to find nature, their personal “getaway” spots as well as various milestones along their commute.
In this exercise, Brennan and Fawn mapped what they thought their world would look like in 10 years. Although both envisioned having children, Brennan (left) refused to say the words “kids” or “children” out loud in describing what he had drawn. Instead, Brennan claimed that he had bought an “upright turtle” for the family. Note the ball and chain.
Although Brennan (blue) and Fawn (red) live a “pitching wedge” away from the Getty Villa, they both identified the museum as a place that they have always wanted to visit.
Given markers and blank devices, Brennan and Fawn were then asked to design a futuristic GPS system. In both cases, their futuristic designs resembled the physical form of a current Blackberry cell phone.
Technology Probe: Placed in the glove compartment of Brennan and Fawn’s cars, these tracking devices collected a variety of data such as the speed, mileage and location of each driver's daily commute.
After ten days, the data on these devices was downloaded and visualized using Google Earth. This is summary of their commute.
We all make sacrifices for those we care for. “One parking space, Two cars” visualizes this selfless act of love. Of course, behind every sacrifice is usually an unspoken deal between partners that keep a relationship afloat. Examples include grocery shopping for lawn mowing, laundry for the occasional late night ice cream run, a night out with the boys for a girls weekend at the beach.
Current applications, such as “Remember the Milk,” allow users to send reminders to their cell phones. Paired with location-based technology, it is easy to imagine a GPS system that reminds you to perform certain tasks in certain locations. For example, when passing a grocery store it may remind you to pick up, well, milk.
Brennan and Fawn work on opposite sides of LA. Here the couple can be seen going their separate ways in the morning.
Particularly beautiful are those images where their paths appear together (see the pictures to the right). These images suggest a shared adventure, a rendezvous or simply the LA way to travel: two cars going to the same location. I, however, prefer a more serendipitous view in which Brennan and Fawn’s paths may have crossed unconsciously. Whatever your take, these and other images in this section offer glimpses into their larger back-story and are tools for the imagination.
While these images may visualize our idiosyncratic behavior, they illuminate the erroneous errors inherent in most technology. For example, it is hard to believe that Fawn, frustrated by her commute along the PCH, decided to drive onto the beach and into the ocean to avoid traffic. However, as Brennan has pointed out on more than one occasion, she is an Asian woman driver.
Outliers are deviations from the norm. They remind us that we are not robots who follow routines but rather individuals who make impromptu decisions, decisions such as going to a local casino and playing poker until 2:30 in the morning.
Shortcuts ask us to veer off our normal path, to take a risk, all with the idea of saving time. But behind our “shortcuts” are larger questions about how we move through our cities.
For example, when we need to get from Point A to Point B, we often use directions. Yet we also rely on trial and error, probability and word of mouth to navigate our cities. It is this experiential knowledge that informs our perspective of where we live.
At what point are you willing to turnaround if you have left something at home?
Data from the week's commute.
Text analysis from the formal interview.