Prototype 1: mapping-x
“Cities are not static creations, they change and they develop.”
- Deyan Sudjic, The Language of Cities (p.32)
This prototype stemmed from earlier explorations of how city inhabitants negotiate experiences of urban density. With the plastic sheet imposing spatial constraints, the performers investigated how bodies can work around each other and fit efficiently into scarce space. The spatial relation that emerged on the sheet surfaced a larger significance of how bodies become echoes of the city they reside in, through the conscious and subconscious archival of lived experiences. This then became the main focus of the activity, as a map of the bodily city is crafted through the traces of the performers’ bodies.
Transparent plastic sheets and markers were used as the surface for the emerging map. This was chosen after several rounds of experimenting with different types of paper in Phase 2 ("Paper x Body") and Phase 3 ("In-studio Development), where the archiving ability of the paper material to retain traces of one's movement and imprints was overshadowed by its potential for ruptures made by the performing bodies instead.
Furthermore, the transparency of the plastic sheets afforded the artistic team the ability to simultaneously layer multiple past versions of the mapping-x prototype. (See Prototype 3: identifying-x)
Performers position themselves on the plastic sheet, drawing along themselves and creating imprints of their bodies (albeit only the contact points with the map surface) in a dialogic manner. Through their conversation, performers alternate between zoning off spaces for themselves, and accommodating each other.
Over time, a topography of bodily traces emerges, etching the contours of each inhabitants' identities. As they come into contact with one another, the traces begin to draft the blueprint for each set of xity-inhabitant interactions.
This will later be superimposed with other iterations of mapping-x in the final prototype: identifying-x.