Activity 4 Last Night Out

map your last night out

When was your last night out?

Think back to the last time you went out for pleasure. When going somewhere was more than buying groceries with a mask. When you could text someone and meet them to do one of the many things we normally do to unwind. Maybe it was a movie or a seemingly uneventful dinner. Maybe it was a grand theatrical production or just a casual drink around the corner. At the time it may have even felt mundane. That’s ok. Given our current pandemic-influenced lifestyle, these moments of collective activity deserve recognition.

Through map-making, take a moment to commit to paper your last night out.

hand drawn map of march 5 2020 in philadelphia
Kris Harzinski, Last Night Out, 2020 [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]

As I sit here amid the pandemic, it’s been over three months since my last night out. While March 5th isn’t technically the last night I went out before the lock-down, it is the last night that felt normal. It was a rather unique evening mixed with a good dose of mundane reality. I met my friend for a beer before we went to see Alex Da Corte’s re-interpretation of an Alan Kaprow happening. On the way there, I called my dad to wish him a happy birthday. We stopped at Starbucks to get a protein bar. We had extra tickets and gave them to friends. A friend I hadn’t seen in a long time shared his clementine. We met more friends afterward and shared an Uber home. Truthfully, all of us knew things were changing that night. My dad told me to refinance my mortgage and buy more cleaning supplies. Alex told the audience to go home and call their mothers. Earlier that day, we considered how we might work from home. The future was very uncertain. Even though our official lock-down was a couple of weeks away, everything I did after this night was influenced by a looming fear of what comes next. 

Cute musings, but how do I get started?

Hey, there’s no wrong way to start a drawing, but if you find blank paper intimidating, keep reading.

Where did you go and how did you get there? Take a moment to consider all of the places that are important for your story. Note how you traveled to these locations. Jot them down on a notecard or simply make a mental record.

Let geography guide the composition. The spatial relationship between important locations can help determine the overall composition of your drawing. Decide on a starting point and an endpoint, allowing other locations to fall into place. You can look at your phone if you want, but chances are you have a pretty good idea of how to get there. You found your way there in the first place!

Pencil to paper. This is the perfect map to draw without preplanning. As you work, your mind will wander, and you’ll naturally remember more details. Start with a pencil to help the drawing evolve. Chart the overall journey from start to finish. Imagine you are explaining how to get there to someone else. As you are drawing, jot down anything you remember along the way.

Edit and refine. Once you have the basic image in pencil, redraw it with something more permanent such as a pen or marker. Edit the original drawing as you go, making determinations about what is important and what is extraneous. Erase the pencil, or just leave it there to reveal your process.

Color for emphasis. Color is optional, but it is an excellent way of creating distinctions, emphasis, and mood in the image. In the example above color is used to indicate different modes of transportation, to de-emphasize the text notations, and to show the predominant color scheme of the event.

hand drawn map by tony gonzalez
Tony Gonzalez, Front Row, Sometimes Further, 2009 [various locations]

Extra credit

This map uniquely resonates with the spirit of this activity. Mashing together a variety of shows he attended over many years, Tony Gonzalez plots his proximity to the stage for each performance. While technically representing multiple nights out and drawn years before we knew what social distancing meant, it references a series of memories within collective spaces as well as a form of escape and entertainment many of us miss right now. With the lens of the pandemic, it’s hard not to see this as a document of something in the past. Consider drawing your version of Tony’s map. Imagine, for example, blending a year’s worth of concerts, sporting events, performances, and drag shows. Go ahead and mix them up in honor of the collective moments we so desire. 

Additional Inspiration

interstitial image dude

Activity 2 Food Memory

Throughout our shelter in place, I’ve been thinking a lot about food. In my house, this happens mostly through lists. We have a list of recipes to try and a list of our favorite, easy-to-cook meals. We have a list of meals that make leftovers for lunch and a list of neighborhood restaurants still doing take out. Most importantly, we have a hopeful, idealized shopping list that inevitably gets edited at the store depending on what’s in stock. Not to worry, we also have a list of food to look for during next week’s outing. So……let’s draw a map of a food memory.

Prompts

Pen, pencil, note cards, journal, note pad

Take a few minutes to pause and think about your memories of food.

photograph of a list of food experiences

While focusing your attention on your memories of food, list any associations that pop into your mind. Use the prompts below or simply spend some time with your thoughts.

  • What is your favorite food right now? Where is the first place you ate it? Where is the best (or worst) place you ate it?
  • What was your favorite food as a child? Is it still important to you now? What foods did your parents or grandparents make for special occasions? Are there any flavors or smells that instantly transport you to the past?
  • What food or flavors do you remember from your travels? Is there something you ate on a trip that you’ve never eaten since? Is there something you loved when traveling but it just doesn’t taste the same without that view of the setting sun?
hand drawn map of a roadtrip through the united states
Joli Reichel, Childhood Car Rides (1989-2007), 2009 [various locations]

Drawing

Letter or A4 size paper, pen, pencils, Sharpie markers, colored pencils, ruler

Begin your drawing by choosing a subject. You could create a map of the best pizzas you’ve ever eaten (or the worst), a diagram of your ideal salad, or a map of your quarantine take out splurges.

It’s worth taking a moment to consider the importance of geography to the memory you’ve chosen. If specific places are key elements, be sure to include details that reference geography (as in the map of childhood car rides above). If not, your drawing can be more of a diagram. In the drawing below, for example, I’ve focused on individual foods and ingredients rather than cartographic details.

hand drawn map of a care package of italian food
Kris Harzinski, Care package from my grandparents circa 1985, 2020 [Pennsylvania and North Dakota]

Additional Inspiration

interstitial image late to the latte