A city’s layered reality is largely undisclosed. Components of the city are concealed – physical habitation hidden by buildings, essential infrastructure hidden by streets, construction processes hidden behind fences, enormous flows of communication and finance hidden behind telephone wires and cables. Even the city’s exteriors are concealed – every place is layered with innumerable personal narratives, none of which are perceptible to someone simply walking by.
The annotated city project was an attempt to explore what happens when narratives are disclosed, not in a displaced, technological realm (e.g. flickr, facebook, or layar), but in the shared physical space. In this project I disclosed my personal experience of my city – past and present, whimsical and humiliating – where all my neighbors could see it. Annotations were written in front of their subjects (where possible), in broad daylight, often under the curious (and sometimes offended) gaze of others. Inot only confronted the subjects and my story, but contended with passers-by and the immediacy of their judgments. The NYCPalimpsestProject blog catalogues the annotations and documents their location in a spatial autobiography removed from its space, an ephemeral narrative captured for posterity, a written record of the things I do not say.
In the end, all these scribblings were be washed away by the rain, leaving a fresh canvas behind: a palimpsest.