Tuesday, October 2, 2007

10/1 Reading Responses

A belated posting…

Else/Where Mapping

After reading through the review of contemporary (200?) mapping projects techniques, it seems that I might roughly categorize them into two groups: utility/wayfinding, Yelp+ perhaps; and ludic mappings. The former having more obvious and concrete aims; The latter seems more open-ended, speculative and potent and interesting. (Admittedlely, the boundaries aren’t probably particularly stark). Specifically, what seems most intriguing is layering a geospatial palimpsest (or “digital graffiti in ActiveCampus’ parlance) with personal annotations, essentially anthologizing individual understandings of the city. The Urban Tapestries project is probably most interesting to me, and probably most analogous to how I see and understand a city.

I love hosting visitors for particularly this reason: I experience a new version of my home through their set of interests. Along with, or often instead of, a survey of the most touristed places in a city (e.g. Golden Gate Bridge, de Young) friends bring their own esoteric agendas and interests to seeing a city, and I enjoy trying to accommodate and participating in their journey. It generally takes me to new geographical areas of a city (even places I’ve lived for years) and more likely, just connects a new set of experiences through their lense. They provide a new kind of Carceri-walk based on their own logics (interests). It takes you out of your zone. I’ve always felt that it’s a shame that people don’t act as a tourist in their own homes.

Thus, I find the Urban Tapestries project really fascinating, as it would allow you to plot new walks, or as Moed’s puts it “write their [own] city,” indexed to interest. Sort of an anthropological Yelp I suppose. Great idea.

One additional thought:

I find this observation, made in reference to the DAVE-G – the system which allows laypeople to manipulate maps and control GIS data, to be a bit naïve: “maps may end up with the kind of oily reputation currently accorded to statistics.” (5/12) Since maps and statistics come from essentially the same source (data sets), it seems unreasonable to think that one method is any more valid or trustworthy than another. As we’ve discussed in class, it seems that systems like DAVE-G advance the democratization of mapping. That suggests the question – is that necessarily progress?

Street Science

Coburn’s narrative of the capacity of community-risk mappings to catalyze change in a neighborhood suggests that they are an additional tool to forward an activist agenda.

His observation that “…like all modes of communication, maps can distort as much as they reveal…” rightly reminds us that all mappings are inherently polemical. Some are more persuasive, but the “political” functions of aggregating, identity forming and boundary making are inherent in all mappings. While perhaps self-evident across all media, placed in the context of this particular studio, it seems pertinent to the discussion of science and so-called pseudo-science, as it reminds us that even “scientific” maps are to some degree polemical documents arguing a position and not merely reporting the facts – Joe Friday has an agenda too.

More broadly, the process is (analogous) to our own in its synthesis of geospatial with knowledge (Coburn’s street science) gained through direct (perspectival) experience. Essentially, their experience (our walks) were buttressed by the

Something else that is interesting is the notion of conducting an argument graphically through mappings – the city and the community groups created different mappings with distinct data sets (verify) covering the same territory. This contestation would be an interesting exercise to engage in studio.

1 comment:

Christian said...

"I’ve always felt that it’s a shame that people don’t act as a tourist in their own homes." Homes or hometown?

(The derision for tourism in one's one city grows from the fact that tourism is largely entertainment industry, and affiliated with commercialization of history and feature. Right? What else?)