Living in a city--especially when we live in the same city for years—we tend to move through it inattentively, getting from place to place. There is a difference between looking and intently seeing. One of our projects was to walk slowly through familiar ground, to observe, map, listen and even record sounds of the places we are used to passing through, denaturalizing familiar ground. Some of us identified our work with the concept of flaneurism, with its components of watchfulness, locomotion, and disruption.
A follow-up to seeing is the more action-oriented stance of seeing and even making change. Mapping where we go leads to reflecting on where we avoid going, to thinking about boundaries and thresholds as both geographical and imaginary constructs. If our city is a built environment, then it is also a changeable one; a question we asked ourselves was whether as urban dwellers we are constrained by habits of place or whether we can engage in doing things differently.
Studying Winnipeg in history reveals it as a place that, while often envisioned as cold and prosaic, is more accurately pictured as a multilayered palimpsest of dreams. Studying Winnipeg in art offered many thirdspace evocations of it as place both real and imagined. By understanding its roots and spirit, we also gained a sense of how local colour is a source of resistance to the pall of creeping sameness that accompanies globalization.
We created this website to capture some of the look and sound of Winnipeg. We discovered that while each of us has our own Winnipeg—our own roots, routines and experiences of place—our perspectives and conceptions expanded through the process of sharing these in class. To keep this process going, we untertake this sharing of them with the broader community.