A week ago, on an incredibly cold, rainy, snowy evening, we headed out on an exploration of Windsor’s downtown guided by a randomly assembled algorithm for Scavenge The City. We only made it through the first 20 steps (we stopped checking them off though), plus a couple others we skipped to by the end, but for the two or three hours we were out, it was great to experience the city with new people in new ways.
To see the algorithm, you can view it randomly assembled, refresh it to see a new order.
We started out the evening going over the algorithm. I was showing Cristina the 60 steps that we had compiled over the last couple weeks.
Since there were only a few brave folks who came out despite the weather, we decided to go out all as one group. We went through a couple potential algorithmic orders, deciding to start with “walk 1 block south.”
I passed out the algorithms (I had brought along a printer) and some markers, and crayons.
We stepped out of Phog and it immediately started raining hard.
Following the first step, we walked 1 block south on Victoria.
Our first steps down Victoria Ave.
Heidi called her parents to tell them what we were doing as part of the next step.
Conviniently, some representatives from the Coast Guard were driving by, so we asked them for directions to the heart of the city. They pointed us to the Tim Hortons by the tunnel.
It was just as well, since we were already frozen. So, we got some coffee and did some more formal introductions.
Back outside, more snow, while I fumbled with the algorithm.
The next step was to find a public sculpture, and draw it, so Heidi and Dale led us to the monument for the Underground Railroad.
On the way to the sculpture.
Here it is, and I had no idea it was there.
The monument was tucked behind Caesars, and the next step involved trying to draw the sign, but we opted to photograph it instead.
Then off to a bar where we needed to get a story.
The story from a bartender at Papa Cheney’s.
Then we had to try to photograph a bridge, we were closer to the bridge to Belle Isle, but it was pretty foggy.
Dale bought the cup of coffee for the next step, in which we had to try to give a cup of coffee to a taxi driver.
After I was extremely unsuccessful in trying to give away a cup of coffee, Cristina took over.
Waiting at the taxi stand on Oullette and University.
This taxi driver wasn’t interested, another already had a cup of tea.
Then the Cheetah’s van, but the driver said she didn’t drink coffee. So, after a valiant effort, Cristina got the coffee.
Outside of Starbucks, Tom made note of one of the problems of the city after we briefly spoke to someone who couldn’t wait to leave Windsor.
Then we tried to claim our territory.
Back near Caesars, after Immony successfully gave a taxi driver a high-five!
It really was this rainy.
One of the last steps, Josh was tasked to draw a floorplan of the Iguana restaurant, but instead drew an architectural rendering from memory.
Immony waiting for the plan to how we were going to decorate the fence.
Gold mylar ribbon.
Immony and I tried to make this dungeon of a staircase look a little less depressing.
Tom gave us a hand tying the end.
The stairs were considerably more in need of decorating than any nearby fence, though I’m not sure how often anyone will see this.
Cristina in the mirror, waiting for our decorating to finish.
Then the last step—the race.
It was intense.
The video captures the action the best.
Back at Phog, we went over the drawings and started to warm up.
Recapping the trek.
And sadly, Darren’s broken 50mm lens he dropped the moment he stepped out of Phog at the beginning of the walk.
All in all, it was an incredible adventure, if a little shorter than what I had originally imagined. It seems though, that the walks that have happened in the city so far haven’t ever been under ideal conditions, but it’d be great to try something like this again in the summer, when nice weather is a bit more of a guarantee. The steps in the algorithm that had us interacting with other people proved the most interesting, so while this particular algorithm had a considerable mix of moving, activity, and interaction, I think a future walk would be great to have it centered on the potential for continuous interactions.