Jue Yang, Middlebury College
Finalist, $200

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Emotional Map

The purpose of the map is to make people aware of how rich an individualís life can be, at least on an emotional level, in an institution. It aims to demonstrate the multitude and complexity of our emotions, which are not to be categorized into a few mere classes. Here I am in a liberal arts college in Vermont. My daily life is scheduled seamlessly from one event to another. I exchange helloís with people whom I see everyday; yet the conversation content is lacking.

The map title suggests how most students greet in their daily communication. Not expecting answers from others, the question almost loses its real meanings. As we are preoccupied by the upcoming happenings – meetings, classes, sport practices – it becomes difficult to articulate how we actually feel in the midst of the day, not to mention sharing it with an acquaintance.

I intend to ask the same question, “how are you today,” intently. “There is in fact a sort of harmony discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle of ten miles’ radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk, and the threescore years and ten of human life” Thoreau had discovered much in the same landscape as at different times. His emotions and walks enrich each other. So are ours. The same route we take everyday might carry different meanings, depending on how we experience it.

In order to get an insight of how people feel on the campus landscape, I conducted 20-30 minute interviews with five students on March 16th and 17th. My interview questions consist of four parts. First, the participants write down what they have done for the day and the respective time and places. Second, they note emotions along the events throughout the day. Third, the participants highlight objects that are important to them on that day based on their own pervious response. Last, they are asked to rethink about what is important to them in a longer span of time, or from a different perspective, and indicate those on their response.

I exported the shapefile of campus buildings from ArcGIS and edited them in Adobe Illustrator. Then I plotted all the emotions at their respective locations by hand, which reveals how a place of scheduled life could vary dramatically for subtle emotions. Thoughts and emotions that happen in between places follow the personís actual footpath, indicated as lines of texts. “Things important to you” are presented as supplementary information to build the personalities. They also serve as keys to identify each individual through color. I assign color to individuals based on their own preference. For example, Kellyís words are blue because the blue jacket was one of the important objects. References on the map are minimal and the scale bar is omitted, because they might distract the readers to explore the richness of the emotion information.