'Walkers are "practitioners of the city," for the city is made to be walked,' Rebecca Solnit writes in Wanderlust: A History of Walking
. 'A city is a language, a repository of possibilities, and walking is the act of speaking that language, of selecting from those possibilities.' For more than a decade, Gareth Fuller has been doing just that.
Based off hours and hours of wandering through cities, the Beijing-based British artist has been creating detail-dense maps in his Purposeful Wanderings
series. The maps are intricate works of art, weaving together Fuller's impressions and stories of the place and packed with cultural commentary, humour and of course, the city's architecture and iconic spots. He's charted cityscapes including London (his first work in the series started in 2005), Bristol and Pyongyang.
And two years ago as his first project in China, Fuller completed 'Beijing (2018)', a map of the capital now on display at the British Ambassador's Residence in Beijing. Most recently, he produced a quirky, humorous and introspective series '#TheQuarantineMaps'
during his 14 days at home on returning to Beijing in March. (You can download the culminating piece, his 'Quarantine and Pandemic Survival Map', for free here
Now Fuller's in Shanghai and, along with Time Out Shanghai, is looking for keen Shanghai residents to show him their side of the city. His research process includes exploring the city and wandering – a lot of it. (After we meet he texts to say he ended walking 30km along Shanghai's Inner Ring Road in one afternoon.) It's the observations and experiences during these wanderings that form the threads which make up the eventual map of each city. Whether it's your favourite maze of nongtang in the oldest parts of the city or tucked-away cocktail bars and single-original coffee shops in an undiscovered corner of Jingan, we want to know.
Interested in spending an afternoon with Fuller in the first week of November and being a part of the research that goes into these works of art? Scan the QR code below, follow the Time Out Shanghai WeChat account and send us a message with 'Map Shanghai', your phone number, WeChat ID and what neighbourhood you would share.