SITE = NEIGHBORHOOD Each neighborhood is a local community with unique characteristics made out of many different levels of activity, physical systems, and structures of varying permanence. In order to thoroughly examine and understand one place and its residents, I will focus attention on one block in Toronto for one week.



The first AGAINST MAPS action will take place in Toronto as part of Subtle Techonologies this May.Vanauley Street

I will apply an Ayurvedic approach to living, developed to promote health for an individual person, to a city block within Toronto.  My interest in completing this project is to explore the healing properties of an ancient medicine on a social body.
As an interested novice in the world of Ayurveda, I will attempt to use my knowledge derived from pop medicine library books and internet texts as well as my own consultation and diagnostic process with a Vaidya to assess a city block based on the principles of the three doshas in Ayurveda. 

In Ayurveda, problems occur because of an imbalance in the doshas, which contrasts with modern science's understanding of disease in terms of pathogens, infectious agents and genetic disorders.  In order to regulate an imbalance, an evaluation must be made to determine what dosha the entity is.  Traditionally, a Vaidya will measure and proclaim an individual’s dosha based on a series of examinations, preceded in the west by a liability waiver relieving the doctor of any legal responsibilities for a patient’s health or the success of the recommended treatments.  The consumption of an ancient medicine by western culture is limited by western filters such as mass prognosis, sterile systemization, a disinterest in preventative medicine, governmental jurisdiction, and bureaucracy.  Resources (internet, books) are available for individuals to engage with ancient traditions, but without a visceral connection to the traditions through experiences with benefits and ingredients, it is difficult to attain the mystical wealth the medicine has to offer without forking over the big bucks.   

My hypothesis is that Ayurveda as a concept is applicable and beneficial when applied to a social body.  In order to apply a system of observation, pulse diagnosis, and interrogation, I will spend a week on site. I will set up a table on the block where I will serve tea and conduct interviews with residents to learn about the block as well as to guide individuals to determine their dosha.  I will put up mock city permits which will mimic a liability waiver and inform the block about the project.  To supplement the census I will observe the current climate (take the pulse) of the street so that I can offer a new perspective on the reality of the block and make displays to show my findings. For this step, I will be consulting with a Vaidya who will aid me in the reading of my observations of the block. My diagnosis of the functionality of different aspects of the community will lead to a series of offerings, including musical performance, cleaning, planting herbs, creating more space, adding water, changing the shape of the earth, or redirecting walking paths.

There will be no maps from above.  Work will start on the ground.  Toronto has already determined a structure and a history for Vanauley Street.  I will monitor the ways in which what has been made is being used.