The Posthuman Census: a citizen cartography project

The Posthuman Census is a speculative, participatory citizen cartography project that asks: How big is the population of a posthuman city?

Collectively the census maps build a meta databank that reconsiders statistical data, how we conceive of populations and the civic diversity of our urban towns and cities. The project asks us to question the privileging of human citizens in our understandings of cities, and how census data gives partial readings of societal trends through time. Making a posthuman census from globally diverse locations disrupts this partiality and provides a glimpse of the rich multispecies civics that constitute our societies.

Citizen cartographers are invited to participate by downloading a blank map and taking a census of different citizens by inefficiently mapping the shadows they cast.

More information on inefficient mapping can be found here: https://vimeo.com/513573223

Instructions:

  1. Download the blank map from the project folder https://tinyurl.com/5abtkuke You can print it, and concertina fold it like a traditional road map. You can also use a drawing app and record your census data digitally on a smart device.
  2. Visit somewhere in your neighbourhood – a park, a shopping mall, a high street, train station. Any location will be appropriate.
  3. Decide which citizen you will take a census of. Citizens can include litter, birds, water, leaves, rain, wind, smoke, and more. The purpose of the project is to be as diverse in thinking about ‘how’ is a citizen, if citizens are thought about through a posthuman reading. The important thing is to record just one type on each map.
  4. Take the paper or digital map and using any drawing tool of your choice, record the shadows of your chosen citizen on the printed side of the map. You can use any medium and any colour/s.
  5. You might draw the outline shape of the shadow, or you might block out a solid shape of the shadow, or you might do a combination. If your citizens are moving a lot, your shadows might not be accurate, you record what you can.
  6. Keep drawing as many shadows of your chosen citizen as you want. If you are using a paper map, unfold and refold your paper map and draw on the different sections. Your shadows might overlap, and there won’t be a top or bottom of your map.
  7. When you are finished, write the date, location, and citizen recorded on the back of the paper map, or as the file name of the digital map. An example is: 2Jan22-Melbourne-dogs.
  8. Photograph or scan your map and upload it to the project folder. The folder also contains a spreadsheet for you to add your details if you wish. You are welcome to remain anonymous if you prefer.

If you wish to receive updates about the project, or are interested in participating further, please contact Linda: Linda.Knight@rmit.edu.au

Upload your citizen census data to the project folder: https://tinyurl.com/5abtkuke

The census data maps will be featured on this website complete with details and authorship. Citizen cartographers will be credited unless they prefer to remain anonymous.