CHICAGO DO YOU LIVE IN??
an exercise in the teaching of spatial intelligence by Lori
Napoleon and Yeni Hart.
Students from a South Shore High School art class were granted a
simple assignment. Written on the chalkboard were the words,
"Which Chicago Do You Live In?" and there were
stacks of paper and writing utensils to use. Draw
a map. While at first the students
were confused as to why they were doing this, the results show some
very interesting and personal portrayals of individuals living in
a neighborhood that many fellow Chicagoans have little awareness
OBJECTIVES:: To get students
to be conscious of their relation to space. To
critically examine where one exists in relation to one's perception
of where power resides (ie "downtown") . To
see that the toughest barriers to overcome are psychological. To
become empowered by their own unique knowledge of their "space."
To understand the relationship between figurative and physical
In the meantime, I got to learn a lot more about a neighborhood
in my own city, a place that many people only see as a name or exit
they pass by at 75 mph on the expressway. How many people
in Chicago reading this have been to Rainbow Beach for example? I
let the personal maps teach me something that a standard tourist
map would not. Where can hand drawn maps take you?
Many thanks to the collaborative efforts
of Yeni Hart, a high school teacher and performance artist who shares
my interest in the subtle implications in maps and our perceptions