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Saturday, June 10 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Mapping through Forgotten Fragments

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This workshop uses the modalities of walking and paper making to explore past, present, and future relations to a range of urban spaces and cities through engaging that which is left behind: debris. The workshop will begin with an introduction of the term ‘walking-with’, coined by Stephanie Springgay, scholar at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) and co-founder of the WalkingLab, which proposes an intentional and sensorially curious form of walking that places attention on the hidden, overlooked, and oblique elements of a place, such as debris.

Debris acts as a discarded material reflection of overlooked narratives of places, cities, people and things. Debris tends to be fragments of materials, or waste items that are no longer deemed useful by their previous user. The workshop draws from theories proposed by Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario) scholar Myra J. Hird, within her book Canada’s Waste Flows, that suggest through discarding materials, or waste, we, as a society, are trying to forget something. Within the workshop we will probe this question of what is potentially forgotten through discarding different debris.

During the workshop we will focus on the streets surrounding the Pratt Institute. This will be one iteration of a much larger project that explores how the embodied act of walking, collecting, and creating paper with the collected debris from different urban spaces and cities can open up new sensory and embodied methods of spatial urban material understanding. These mappings reflect both the commonalities and differences of urban spaces using collected debris.

To turn the collected debris into counter mappings the ancient technology of a deckle and mould, paper making tools, will be used. The counter mappings created will be done together, as a group of participants. Counter maps aim to diversify the narratives propagated about a space. Counter mapping often goes hand-in-hand with walking, as is the case with Walking the Watershed, a New York City based project by Lize Mogel, within which she explores the relationship between landscape, politics and history in relation to the city’s water supply.

The workshop is part of Narrative Debris, a research-creation project that began within the Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal (Canada) as my Master’s of Design thesis. The method of creating debris maps has now expanded to involve many other locations in Montreal, and other cities such as Ottawa (Canada) and Detroit (MI). The workshops are an exchange of knowledge, I bring a method to share, that being the use of ‘walking-with’ and paper making, while the participants bring their lived experiences and knowledge of the area.

Conducting the workshop at HASTAC will be a unique experience, because many of the participants will be visitors to the city. At the end of the workshop participants will be given the option to take their debris map with them to dry or to leave it with me. The workshop challenges the ‘matrix of domination’, a term coined by Sasha Costanza-Chock to refer to the many factors that oppress people along with their stories, through creating counter maps, with others, using discarded materials. The aim is to critically interrogate hierarchies we place on materials, humans, and urban spaces based on a colonial and capitalist system. Through engaging with what is intentionally forgotten, the workshop opens up alternative approaches to understanding and mapping spaces that position debris as the focal point. You can view previously created debris mappings by myself and participants on the research project website www.narrativedebris.com.


Tricia Enns

Masters Student, Concordia University

Saturday June 10, 2023 3:30pm - 5:00pm EDT
PS 301 (Design Center)