The overall goal of this project is to develop a range of tools, methodologies, practices and concepts that could contribute to the improvement of the cartography of narratives in general and of cinematographic narratives in particular.
Films frame our geographic imagination. They associate images and stories to places, and contribute to the shaping of how we perceive and experience these places. Through the places they include and exclude, films contribute to the production of ‘cognitive maps’ and frame the way we envision and understand the world. The cartography of cinematographic narratives can then serve to explore how films may shape our spatial imaginary. It can also help to reveal the geographic structure of stories.
But mapping cinematographic narratives is not as simple as it might seem. It requires overcoming several challenges, including two major ones. First, it calls for the transformation of audiovisual material into geographic data, which is a recurrent issue in social sciences. For instance, how do we map a simple phone conversation where the two characters are located in two different places while moving as they are talking? How do we map the emotional dimension associated to a certain place through a dramatic scene? Second, it requires the development of new forms of cartographic visualizations that can capture these dimensions as well as the often fragmented spatio-temporal structure of narratives. Both of those challenges are addressed within this project, and more specifically through the mapping of Canadian contemporary narrative territories.