Cas Oorthuys – Station Square, Central Station, Amsterdam, 1965
Michael Dax Iacovone
“Fuller´s Dymaxion Airocean World Map of 1943 cuts the earth into triangular facets that are then unfold as a flat polyhedron. Both the north and south poles are presented frontally and equally, with little distortion, although the typical viewer is at first likely to be disoriented by this unusual, poly-directional arrangement of countries. Only the graphic graticule of latitude and longitude allows the reader to comprehend the relative orientation of any one location.
Interestingly, the Dymaxion structure can be unfolded and re-oriented in any number of different ways, depending on the thematics of one´s point of view. The polyhedral geometry provides a remarkably flexible and adaptive system wherein different locations and regions can be placed into significantly different sets of relationship. Precisely where the map is cut and folded determines how the parts are seen in relationship to each other, each time in radically altered, yet equally true, configurations. Potentially at least, each arrangement possesses great efficacy with regard to certain socio-political, strategic and imaginative possibilities”.
James Corner, The Agency of Mapping.
“A map is just one more layer, a mark laid down upon thousands of other layers of human geographic history on the surface of the land”
“Because maps are a visual tool for sharing information with others. Because they can be produced by many people and combined together to tell stories about complex relationships. Because maps are never finished and only tell part of a story that can constantly be expanded upon. Because power exists in space, struggle exists in space and we exist in space. Because we cannot know where we are going if we do not know where we are from.”
“Psychogeography: a beginner’s guide. Unfold a street map of London, place a glass, rim down, anywhere on the map, and draw round its edge. Pick up the map, go out into the city, and walk the circle, keeping as close as you can to the curve. Record the experience as you go, in whatever medium you favour: film, photograph, manuscript, tape. Catch the textual run-off of the streets: the graffiti, the branded litter, the snatches of conversation. Cut for sign. Log the data-stream. Be alert to the happenstance of metaphors, watch for visual rhymes, coincidences, analogies, family resemblances, the changing moods of the street. Complete the circle, and the record ends. Walking makes for content; footage for footage”.
I. Reading the city
_ “there is no one narrative of a city, but many narratives construct cities in different ways highlighting some aspects and not others” (Bridge/Watson 2000). How we imagine the city will thus depend to a large extent on what our interest in the city is and what we want to know about it (King 2007).
_ the city as a collection of stories.
II. Maps and mapping
_ “Despite the common knowledge that the city is socially heterogeneous and an uneven space that is difficult to represent, it is often neutralized and reduced to a map” (Çinar/Bender 2007)
_ The map, and also the aerial photography, gives a description of the world as seen from above, and thus offers important knowledge about the dimensions, build-up and relationship between the city’s physical elements, such as streets, squares, parks, buildings etc. However, it does not capture the atmosphere of a place, and does not record the numerous stories which lie within the physical, tangible reality it describes.
III. Cognitive mapping and dérive
_ cognitive mapping
_ Dérives involve playful-constructive behaviour and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll.” (Debord 1958). Through recording his aimless, dream-like walking through the streets of Paris, Debord made a series of “psycho-geographical” maps reflecting subjective perceptions of the everyday condition of the urban fabric. The resulting map was hence a cognitive one, rather than a mimetic description of the city (Corner 1999). The situationists, through this preference for a cognitive approach rather than a positivistic one, were making an attempt to return the map to the everyday (Corner 1996).