clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Artist uses directions drawn by strangers to make map of Manhattan

New, 23 comments
NOBUTAKA AOZAKI from here to there
NOBUTAKA AOZAKI from here to there

Many have bemoaned the lost art of map reading, but the proliferation of GPS-enabled smartphones has also changed how we give directions to strangers on the street — it's just easier to show someone how to get somewhere by pointing it out on Google Maps. Artist Nobutaka Aozaki has embarked on a quest to preserve the act of drawing out directions with his ever-evolving work "From Here to There," which is a partial map of Manhattan pieced together from dozens of scraps of paper. Aozaki obtains each paper plate, napkin, and page by asking New Yorkers to draw out directions to destinations like famous tourist attractions and restaurants.


The artist himself isn't a tourist, but to complete the act he dresses up with a bright blue "New York" baseball cap and a shopping bag from department store (and tourist mecca) Century 21. Aozaki tells Spoon & Tamago that "Most people just pull out their smartphone and try to show me a map. When this happens I tell them, 'I’ll [forget] so please draw me directions!'" The piece is far from complete, but Aozaki explains that he doesn't necessarily intend to make the map comprehensive. The idea of capturing snippets of his daily life through the hands of unwitting New Yorkers is enough for him.