The Interactive Atlas of the San Miguel

By Dan Collins and Gene Cooper

The Interactive Atlas of the San Miguel is a mediated sculptural display that allows users to interact with informational layers (pictures, texts, maps, stream data, etc.) and contribute "stories of place" focused on the San Miguel River Watershed in Southwestern Colorado. The project in its current form is a prototype for a network of interactive stations situated in publically accessible institutions and facilities (libraries, schools, museums, general stores, etc.) along the length of the San Miguel River. The project builds upon a variety of resources including a research project called The Interactive Watershed, the Watershed Education Program of the Telluride Institute, and the GIS "webmap" project maintained by the San Miguel County planning office.

In its finished form, the project will draw from a centralized shared "GIS" database and integrate live RSS feeds (weather, stream flow, traffic alerts, etc.), cultural information and user generated content (e.g., family histories, testimonials, photo-documentation, poetry and visual art).

The content of the Interactive Atlas will also be reflected in a publically accessible website that allows for individual participation via user-generated "forms" that are geo-tagged and accessible both on the web and at each station.

The Interactive Atlas provides a way to share information and "give voice" to the tiny neighborhoods and communities situated along the San Miguel River. Currently, the "representation" of these communities is top-down. This project provides a "bottom-up" method for sharing artworks and "stories of place" that reveal the hidden dimensions of local communities. Ultimately, a place-based curriculum, developed from the information garnered from local communities, will be shared with regional K-12 schools.

The Interactive Atlas is a "place-based" artwork that integrates a multitude of different content areas specific to the region, serves as a shared resource connecting the diverse communities of the watershed, and provides a vehicle for individual participation in the ongoing dialogue regarding the health and cultural life of the San Miguel River watershed. Click on the image to advance to the one. Point the mouse at the bottom of the image to see additional controls.


Contributor Biographies

Dan Collins, MFA, PhD Dan Collins joined the School of Art faculty at Arizona State University(USA) in 1989. He is founding Co-Director of the PRISM lab (a 3D modeling and prototyping facility) and coordinator of the foundation art program (artCore). Collins studied studio art and art history at the University of California, Davis, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Art Education from Stanford University (1975), a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in "New Forms" and Sculpture from UCLA (1984), and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Arizona State University (2009). His work in sculpture, installation, and interactive digital media has been shown broadly including the Boston Cyberarts Festival, the Basel Art Fair, SIGGRAPH, the Exploratorium Museum (San Francisco), and the Center for the Future, Slavonice, Czech Republic and The 1st Biennial Sculpture Exhibition in Datong, China.

Gene Cooper, MFA Since completing his MFA at Arizona State University in 1997, Gene Cooper has pursued a variety of projects under the aegis of his company, Four Chambers Studios. The company has produced websites for the organizations such the Grand Canyon Association, developed interactive exhibits for venues such as the Arizona Science Center, produced over 14 best selling virtual tour products, setup exhibits in National Park visitor centers around the US, created interactive art installations for events such as Burning Man, exhibited at numerous conferences such as Siggraph, supported organizations such as Leave No Trace, and collaborated with over 35 parks, associations, and agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management.