Public Inscription

Ordzh postcard

The real innovation in the project lies in the ability of visitors to inscribe new information onto the map. Memories and observations of the real Sochi, across decades and changed regimes, will be mapped onto the virtual one, creating a deeply layered cartographic document of collective experience. Historical memory can be mapped onto this site in the same manner in which Yelp users map their experiences onto a city’s restaurants and businesses. Visitors will be able to click on a location and leave comments, but will also be able to add elements to the map, whether in the form of new identifications, objects, or datelines, or in the provision of additional documentary materials related to already mapped content.


Scholars will be invited to submit additional data or commentary, while a “graffiti” section will invite visitors to comment on the website itself in the usual manner. The greatest emphasis will be placed on
guestbooks provided at each map location, which will be reserved for comment or further documentation relating to the actual geographic locations (the sites themselves, as opposed to the webpage depicting them). We hope to stimulate this sort of input by canvassing the émigré population in Chicago, as well as locals in Sochi and former tourists from across Russia.

family vacation

Sochi takes great pride in its tradition of international friendship. The Soviets maintained a tree upon which international visitors could add grafts, and this tree of friendship can serve as a model for this project: users will graft their memories onto the web, which will then serve as a site of new growth to which additional branches can be added. The guestbook will allow visitors to leave notes in English, Russian, or other languages. (We will translate the Russian passages into English.)