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Mapping project charts Twin Cities' points of pain and joy

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City maps usually use colors, shapes, and other marks to denote things like bus routes, school locations, and major thoroughfares. Now a University of Minnesota professor is asking locals to mark places of pain and joy on her handmade wooden map of the Twin Cities.

"Unseen/Seen: The Mapping of Joy and Pain" is the latest project by Rebecca Krinke, an artist who teaches landscape architecture at the University of Minnesota. She is taking her large-scale tabletop map of Minneapolis and St. Paul to parks and other locations, where she invites people to draw in gray where they've felt pain and gold where they've felt joy.

The result, still evolving, is more than a composite mental map. It's a communal emotional map that Krinke hopes will be enlightening and even therapeutic.

"It really seems to be working," says Krinke, who calls the responses so far "beautiful, interesting and strange." Some people happen by; others who have heard about the project come as if by appointment. Most who participate end up staying half an hour or so, often interacting with others as they mark the map.

To her surprise, many of the markings are linear rather than mere points. River banks are lined with more gold than even Minneapolis' popular city lakes.

Word of the project has traveled quickly, and Krinke says she'll be packaging it for display in Blacksburg, Va. (site of a horrific campus shooting), and Sacramento, Calif.

A map of wood, while a thing of beauty, is also anachronistic in the age of Google Maps. Krinke says she's interested in suggestions she has received for online, possibly worldwide, versions.

Source: Rebecca Krinke, University of Minnesota
Writer: Chris Steller

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