June 05, 2013
The Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative has launched a new type of mapping project which uses a camera laden balloon.
The plan is for the balloon to follow The Bridge executive director Matthew Slaats, taking pictures as he walks around the neighborhoods of Charlottesville, asking people what its like to live there.
"Its the curiosity of people in the neighborhood, they'll come out and say what are you doing? Why are you doing this?" says Slaats.
"And You'll tell them well we're taking some aerial photos of Charlottesville"
'It draws in people and that is what I do as an artist, that's what the bridge does as an organization. It tries to draw people in and get them thinking about the city or art or culture in a different way."
Over the next two months, there will also be public talks and community walks through different neighborhoods to help educate and show people more of their own city.
"It'll just be more real life and that's what's often missing in the kinds of information that we get is really who are we talking about and what do they value and that's what this project is all about." says City Councilor Dede Smith.
Unlike the US Census, which is full of numbers and data, Slaats hopes to generate conversation and feedback, to help make this an annual project so the city can look back on it and see what progress has been made.
Slaats adds, "Typically you think of the U.S. Census thos eare numbers and trying to see what those numbers actually mean to people but also balancing them with the stories of how people know."