Bennington Spots is a map that displays the collective experience of the Bennnington College community. Installed on an informational tack board in the Visual Arts building it asks a passerby to plot 5 points with color coded map pins.
Location you were at 10 minutes ago
Where you go to escape everything
Area you have never been to before
Location where you feel uncomfortable
Where you see yourself in 5 years
This simple request cause one to reevaluate how they use the area many see as campus and how they can categorize their experiences there.
Excerpt from a post installation note:
"By placing down a tack you are adding significance to that spot. Your relationship with that location transforms it into a place. You are assigning it a personal value.
By interacting with this map you just told a secret, became away of the unaware, shared a confession, contemplated if your future has any relation to this map, and fantasized about a location.
Learn from the collected experience you see in front of you. Although there may be many tacks on this map you can pick out which ones you placed on it. See how others interacted with the places you've plotted. There are places you want to remember and those you want to forget. Your personal catalog of places shape you, make you who you are. "
Bennington Spots is not just a map about plotting one's experience and interactions with the campus it is a demonstration about what a map is, what it can and can't be and how map creation can be collaborative.
By plotting points a person is creating a personalized connection to the map. They are plotting themselves on it. As more and more people interact with it one person's information becomes lost but it does not devalue the data. That person knows where they put their pins. When visiting the map later that person can instantly pick out their pins. The spots are stored in their memory, taking this physical action to plot it does not allow them to forget it. This invites them to see how others view the same spots. It creates a relationship between the colored pins. One wonders who it is that shares the same nostalgia for that spot and thinks about how those who plotted different colored pins see that spot differently.
The colorful sea of pins show that people interact with the same spaces differently and that one's relation to their surroundings is highly personal. There are 4 pins on the campus gym. Where 2 people go to escape everything and where 2 people feel uncomfortable. The same location can be both enjoyed and feared. While one examines the map narratives are created. The academic science building only has pins that show that it is a location where people feel uncomfortable. What could this say about those who interact with that location or what goes on at that location? It is up to the viewer to fill in where the map leaves off.