Placemarks on Watermarks: Mapping, Sensing and Sampling the “Rivers of Emotion”
Maps are a key discourse for conveying geographical information, yet many cartographic approaches struggle to represent the subjective aspects of a landscape or “sense of place.” This paper examines the challenges in mapping emotional engagements with place, considering various cartographic approaches to representing emotions, and how these are complicated by theoretical approaches to conceptualizing place. Where place is theorized as fluid, dynamic, and contingent, we see a mismatch with the logics of cartographic practice and interface design. Participatory digital spatial media offer new possibilities for mapping emotional engagement by overcoming some of these complications. They are thus the focus of the case study of the Rivers of Emotion digital database of emotional engagements with Derbarl Yerrigan and Djarlgarro Beelier (the Swan and Canning Rivers), in Western Australia. The paper reviews emotional responses to the rivers and explores the collation of individual emotional engagements with these places in an online map and database. It concludes with a discussion of possibilities and limitations for mapping emotions and suggests how projects like this can inform collective imagined geographies.
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