Canning —picking up cans and bottles on the streets for a living— has been an increasingly popular activity in New York City for over 30 years, becoming an indirect welfare system created and sustained by redeeming garbage, worth 5 cents apiece. For over a year, journalist Francesca Berardi followed a group of canners in their daily activity, collecting qualitative and quantitative information about their work. They come in the forms of handwritten notes, sketches, oral history interviews, photos, videos, and GPS tracks of their itineraries. We Can combines the aforementioned media into an interactive and immersive web experience. As the stories of canners unfold across mental maps of the city that take shape through illustration, analogue data visualization, and oral history, we push for new and experimental forms of urban storytelling that explores a more co-owned narrative through pairing geospatial data with the extraordinary nuances of human lives and experiences.
View the project at canners.nyc
Listen to a story about one of the canners on WNYC’s All Things Considered
And read about the project at The Gothamist