20 June 2011

The Agency of Mapping

  1. Tufte describes Ernst Mossel as a “busy bee” in mapping artwork, who claims to be uncovering “universal and orderly structures that lurk beneath nearly all art.” (p30-31)Tufte seems quite critical of his work,describing it as “fanciful” “ad hoc”, the “dotty drawings of a monomanic.” Do you agree and if so, where exactly do you think Mossel fails at making his maps meaningful? What is Tufte's lesson to us?

  2. How does mapping make something easy for you to understand? Tufte has two examples that I think are very demonstrative in producing clarity from photographic images; the French-method skiing guide (p36-39) and the 1902 photograph of the colleagues of E.J. Marey (p42). Both mapping techniques provide all the information required to understand the image using the least amount of detail necessary. If you were to create mapped images like these, how would you know what information to extract and highlight?

  3. Corner has much to say about the bias of the mapmaker. “Mapping is never neutral, passive or without consequence” (p216) This is a topic we visited in the last discussion, but have your thoughts changed with this reading? Is knowing the bias of the mapmaker absolutely necessary to understanding its context and therefore its meaning? Can designers and planners trust the maps made by others to begin their design process or must they make maps of their own?

  4. Corner describe Minard's map, a work with which we are already familiar, as one that has multivariate qualities but is not rhizomatic, because “It only depicts the facts that are relevant to its narrative theme, and must therefore be read in a linear way.” (p246) The advantage to this choice of depicting information is conveying a message. What are the advantages to a map that is not so clear in its message? How would you measure the success of such an image?

  5. Amoroso seems to suggest that Corner's embrace of the subjective process of map making adds an artistic quality to his resulting images, and that they are valuable as a result. “Corner's map-drawings become both the subject and the object of representation; in and of themselves, they are carefully crafted pieces of work-even paintings.” (p105) Is the relationship between mimetic cartography and the eidetic images that Corner produces a spectral relationship, where his images represent a closer proximity to artwork than those of ancient mapmakers? In other words, is there art and meaning to all maps, or do maps require the conscious agency of the mapmaker to have artistic value?

1 comment:

pbakku said...

Milwaukee Downer College Map (1927)


By rendering in comic style the map creator is freed to bias, stripping away scale and information non-essential to the story

The grossly exaggerated proximities between the river/lake/downtown and illustrated activities generate an exciting utopian vision of the campus. Could this have been a promotional poster for the the school?