‘Out of sight, out of mind’ applies often to most of the goods we buy. Everything I own or use has had a long life before it got to me and will likely have a long and much more sordid life after. As abstract concepts, it is easy to understand that the cell phone in my pocket traveled a long way from many different source points before I began using it. Two projects in particular are investigating ways in which these abstract ideas could be made specific and visual. Sourcemap.com offers a platform for mapping out supply chains of anything from clothing to electronics to sports teams. Below users ‘tanger 8’ and ‘dejardin’ mapped out the Samsung Galaxy 4s and the iPhone, respectively.
And in the archives (circa 2010 by my estimation) is a source map of the Arsenal Football Club (London, UK). Although, to be more specific, the players mapped should include the clubs they were a part of prior to joining Arsenal.
Trash/Track is a project out of MIT’s senseable city lab which asked Seattle residents to add tagging devices to their trash in an effort to map its trajectory from household to sorting to landfill/recycling center. Both this project and the sourcemap can help spread awareness of how much traveling our household goods get up to when we aren’t watching them.