Since traveling is not much of an option right now, I chose my location based on randomization of coordinates within my neighborhood. For privacy reasons, I won’t share the exact coordinates of my location, but I essentially just found the coordinates of the borders of my neighborhood on Google Maps and used my calculator to pick two random integers within the limits that I found. Based on those coordinates, I went as close as possible as I could without trespassing on private property. This picture was the result:
Choosing a random location in Soldotna, Alaska during the winter months may have proven to be a difficult task. My online ‘random location generator’ demonstrated that the algorithms which composed the online software are disconnected from reality. Random locations set in the middle of rivers, lakes, or closed national parks are impossible to venture out into due to the weather and their specific conditions.
I was a little uncertain how to approach this assignment at first, wondering how I could somehow discover something so surprising and eye-catching without being intentional in any way whatsoever. This was made especially daunting as my family had been isolating for the majority of the pandemic, and thus I was limited to the reaches of my own backyard to uncover objects that I had supposedly not seen or experienced before.
For my location, I chose to walk to the beach near my house about an hour before sunset. It was still light out, but I noticed as I was walking that some of the flowers in the yard of one of the houses were already closing for the night. It's always interested me how plants, which we often think of as stationary, can actually move and adapt to changes in light throughout the day. It seemed like these flowers were starting to close for the night, so I took a picture of them.
This week I printed out a map of my nearby location and tossed a paper clip on to the map. It brought me to a nearby park on the mountains. I decided to walk a bit on the trail and soak in the view. It was a really nice evening with a refreshing breeze as the sun began to set. I heard dogs in the nearby neighborhoods barking and birds chirping. As I tried to consider a word that summarized it all, I began thinking about some recent podcasts I had listened to. I have recently been listening to a particular theoretical physicist discuss the universe, galaxy, and life itself.
I like to think of myself as a very adventurous individual as I love to take random trips to new locations, explore small coffee shops, and encapsulate memories as best as I can. This pandemic has hindered my ability to engage with the outside world, being more inclined to stay at home than explore the “outside.” Nearly 13 months later, I finally got my vaccine and decided to take this serendipity assignment as a sign to take a chance (safely) to explore a new place.
Professor Thomas encouraged us to look closer at the things we always see, to see and experience the contours of a chair and to witness the shadows made. Oftentimes we are so fixed on the purpose of items that we miss out on the finer details. While the connections between quantum mechanics and art seems like a large jump, when we focus on the details we can see how quantum governs the laws that we experience everyday.
Serendipity is defined as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Chance took me to a location close to my apartment in LA. When I arrived I began to wonder what I should document and I realized that I was thinking so hard about what I should document rather than just taking in my surroundings.
For this week's assignment, I ended up using a random number generator to take me to a random location in my neighborhood. I designated 1 to be traveling left, 2 to be traveling right, and 3 to be traveling straight, and the numbers 1-5 to be the number of blocks I walked in that direction. After using this process, I ended up walking 4 blocks straight, 2 blocks left, and 2 blocks straight. I ended up in a neighborhood close by New York Dr. and examined the environment around me.
It had been almost 3 years since I last took a walk in the forest, and so when the random location that I pinned turned out to be a forest not too far from my house, I was thrilled to put on my shoes and get out into the fresh air. When I got there, it was very quiet, not even the sound of birds could be heard, and yet it was very peaceful. With the absence of the overwhelming sensory simulation that I had gotten accustomed to from the constant noise of the city life, there was a sudden void, a blank canvas, to take in everything around me.