Finding Comfort in Strange Places (or Apps)

Can Google Maps bring back memories?

A walk through your old neighbourhood, a stroll in the park you grew up playing in can bring back memories, for sure. But what about a digital walk down memory lane? How far can one go to revisit old memories and is Google Maps the answer to grief? 

During the past two months a lot of tweets have surfaced of people that go into Google Maps and revisit the homes where they grew up. This, of course, for many people brought up memories but also some pictures of departed loved ones. 

In an article published by BBC, Kleinmann reshared a heartwarming anonymous tweet: “I go on Google maps to the images that were dated as being taken before my dad died so I can walk around a little bit in a world where he is still with me.” A number of people responded to this tweet sharing their own experience and pictures of their loved ones on Google Maps and talked about how they deal with grief and loss by “strolling” through Google Maps: 

I can go back to 2009 and see my parents walking down the road holding hands. I lost them both 8 & 6 years ago”.

“I found my mom, who died in 2016, walking back into her house only a month or so ago”.

For many this was an interesting and touching experience as they felt closer to their loved ones for once more after their departure. Others expressed distress that some of the pictures were replaced with more recent ones. According to BBC,“there is, however, a way to look back at previous incarnations – by tapping the clock icon on the top left-hand side of Google Maps (the feature does not appear on Google Earth), if it is there”.

It is indeed interesting how modern technology has changed the way we deal with grief, relationships and love. To explore such topics more in depth, we invite you to join us at the IMPAKT festival 2021 which will be dedicated to Modern Love

This festival will investigate the societal patterns, challenges but also possibilities offered to us by the internet, social media, neo-liberal capital, globalisation and the Covid-19 pandemic as well. Is there a way out of the ‘cold intimacies’ brought by the digital revolution? Learn more through a rich programme of talks, panels, screenings, performances and an exhibition. 

Save the date:
IMPAKT Festival 2021: Modern Love
Different location in Utrecht and online
3-7 November 2021
Festival exhibition 
At the IMPAKT [Centre for Media Culture]
3 November 2021 – 9 Januari 2022

Website by HOAX Amsterdam