A commission by Google Creative Lab and Visual Editions to create an online digital experience of the “Where You Are” book.
A unique challenge as “Where You Are” isn’t a book in the traditional sense of the word; instead of pages and chapters it is full of artwork and essays that map out the stories of 16 individuals.
“Where You Are” is a collection of artwork and essays that explore the idea of what a map is and what it can be. Visual Editions, renowned for building digital literary landscapes, brought together 16 artists, writers and thinkers to create their own personal maps.
To promote the book, 17 microsites (one for each contributor and one for the homepage) were designed. Each of these microsites is unique, creating a different user experience that’s inspired by each contributor’s idea of what a map can be. All the sites are connected by real-time visual feedback of the audience’s behaviour.
The contributors were: Chloe Aridjis, Lila Azam Zanganeh, Alain de Botton, James Bridle, Joe Dunthorne, Geoff Dyer, Olafur Eliasson, Sheila Heti + Ted Mineo, Tao Lin, Valeria Luiselli, Leanne Shapton, John Simpson, Adam Thirlwell, Peter Turchi, Will Wiles and Denis Wood.
Bibliothèque, designer of the print book and each of the contributor’s personal maps, invited the studio to pitch for the website and develop ideas for a digital interpretation of the unique collection of writing.
A successful pitch to Visual Editions and Google Creative Lab started the process of creating the digital experience by deconstructing Bibliothèque’s visual language to create the graphic design of the website.
The website displays activity of visitors across the site – where they’ve come from, how many are visiting the site, a certain page etc. – and shares the users’ behaviour in real-time.
A “story streamer” was developed using an algorithm to track people’s activity on the website to create a “story”. It gives each of these “stories” an interestingness rating and periodically selects one to broadcast to other users on the website.