Work in progress:
Intrigued by the economical structure which is extracted from the pattern of the milk movements, the idea came up to follow the ways of the milk, from producer to consumer. The individual small farmer in Latgale, the milk truck driver Janis Čačka, someone, who works in the factory, the truck driver that brings the milk to the country of destination (The Netherlands, but also Germany, Denmark and Italy), the supermarket employee who puts the milk in the shelves and the final user who puts the powder milk into his coffee (or maybe consumes a totally different milk-related product, but that is what our research has to show).
We would like to make a personal map of each of those personages. The result will be a number of maps which touches each other or even partly overlap. The maps have different scales and these differences indicate the different lifelines. In order to comment those differences we combine the maps with the reactions of the people to their own maps and also attach pictures,stories of their daily lives on the traced routes.
In all of those fine or rude mazed lives, the milk plays his own role. One of the goals is to test the GPS-registration as an artistic, narrative tool. We hope that the story of milk-connections and milk-differences will lead to the imagination of a broad audience, just as it does to ours.
This project will also engage some social problems as well. The authors of the project do not have the intention to give the project a political or economical question or goal. Though we realize that a side-effect can appear on different levels. The showing of the maps will, on a small scale, create a social space for the local community in Latgale. These meetings possibly indirectly lead to strengthening of self-consciousness in respect of the instable economic developments that will follow. Also the final presentation of the route of Janis Čačka situated in the city of Krāslava, can have this effect.
First experiments in milk map making took place in July 2003 in the framework of international workshop Locative media. The further research of the milk route will be carried out during spring - summer, 2004. The final results of the project will be presented in several events (exhibitions, conferences) in Netherlands, Latvia and Germany during fall, 2004.
Technology and visualization
The starting point: give people the means to make a cartography of their daily lives and to reflect on those, make those personal cartographies visible and imaginable for as broad as possible audience, will stay the same. In this case we will not focus on REALTIME-possibilities like we did it in urban areas. The countryside situation, in our opinion, demands another approach because the awareness of space is less connected to knowing and wanting to know where people are at a certain moment, and more connected to time and place as a structure for daily tasks and the time these take. The project will focus on as adequate as possible visualization of this sense of time. Of course thought from the sense of space of milk producers and small scale farmers. For us its the challenge to use an adequate visualization of their way of life as a starting point for the visualization of a more urban and economically large scale way of life: the truck driver, the possible urban, western Dutch consumers. With this we have the ambition to look as much as possible from a countryside perspective towards our whole project plan.