Gallery Exhibition: Harlem First. Mapping the Health of a Community

Gallery Exhibition: Harlem First. Mapping the Health of a Community

"Harlem First" is a mapping design project combines social research, data mapping and design to address health-related issues in the neighborhood. 

The theme of my group is “The People in Harlem”, which means we need to figure out what kind of relationship between “people” and “health”. It was a really broad topic but just because of it we realised that when we want to see the connection between people and health, we need to step back and see the whole map of people’s life. 

After brainstorming we found that “hands” is an amazing media which can show a lot of information of a person, such as race, gender, age, work, decoration, etc. And all of them is about health. Then we spent two weeks in East Harlem to intercept people who are living there and photographed 100 people’s hands. 

We talked to them and tried to know them & the community they live in. As researching, we found that there are a lot of elements may affect people’s health, not only smoking, diet and physical activity habits but also the educational attainment, income, and a lot of factors but we usually not notice. In addition, physical and social environments in the community also can have big health effects. The pollution, crime, and lack of access to health care… It seems including everything.

During the whole process, I mainly did observation, interception and took photos of 76 people's hands, then I gathered data about individual Health and Community Health of East Harlem with my group. Some of the data was referenced from COMMUNITY HEALTH PROFILES 2015, Manhattan Community District 11: EAST HARLEM. We divided all of data into six category and marked them by color. Each piece of the data is just a sentence, is fragmental, like each person. But in some way when all of them are gathering together, it really means something, like a community. 

We edited "one hand" with "one data" randomly and glued them on one triangular wood board, so that visitors can only see hands from one perspective, only see data from another side, and when they standing in the middle, they would see all of them.