Z515 Spring 2015

Representation as Vehicle for Exploration

Maps are representational devices that operate much like Norman’s discussion. The complexity of, for instance, an urban environment is abstracted down to only the spatial relations between elements on a single flat plane. Depending on the type of map, relevant details such as elevation changes, traffic flows, or transportation hubs might be represented through the closeness of topographic lines, arrows, or a variety of icons for buses, trains, etc.

Cover of the Situationist International Anthology

Maps & arrows & representation!

The cover of this Situationist International Anthology is an example of using maps to facilitate discussion, much like Norman’s example of discussion of varying possibilities between Henri and Marie. Among other things, the Situationists were interested in the experience of neighborhoods and how the built environment influenced inhabitants in subtle ways. So they charted their progress through cities on walks that had no inherent purpose but to attempt to record their influences.

The image here is of Paris, with some neighborhoods cut out into distinct parts and arrows included to show how travelers might progress from one neighborhood to the next. Unlike a standard map used for clarification of the built environment, this particular type of representation is an aid to help recognize the unclear effects the built environment might produce on its inhabitants. After exploring the city on foot, they would cut up the map into segments that represented the boundaries they sensed as they walked. In this way, they used the representations for their own purposes, turning them into new works that helped represent what they had experienced.

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This entry was written by Ryan P. Randall and published on February 2, 2015 at 7:31 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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