Université catholique de Louvain
Tournai, Belgium

Drawing Maps: Systems and Disruptions

Drawing a map simultaneously organises two surfaces, the content on the paper and the corresponding territory on the ground. The data offered about what might be encountered is augmented or confounded during the resulting journey.

Can propositional maps, maps with behavioural intent, produce a new, free flowing territory that can be travelled in the imagination, in reality or in both concurrently, creating possibilities for new kinds of interaction in the city and stimulating new co-dependencies between the imagination, expectation and experience?

In ‘The Practice of Everyday Life’, de Certeau proposes a useful distinction between the organisational strategies that emerge from institutions and structures of power and the consumers who utilise a variety of subversions and manipulative tactics on the ground. A map, created as a dispositif, then becomes disordered when performed by the consumer, as a consequence of tactical (mis)interpretations.

In 2013 I published and distributed eight thousand copies of two maps that I designed for London Legacy as part of their ‘Emerging East’ initiative to connect communities surrounding the Olympic Park in East London. A series of experimental traversals of the territory informed the creation of the maps. Subsequently I have been framing this, and other practices carried out in the field, in theory so as to develop the potency of such maps.

The map can be regarded as a discursive choreography, real and virtual, for performing the city, selecting and curating map content creates new realities. In this paper I will consider the map as systematiser, disruptor, metaphor and reality system and consider the way that actions play out, never quite producing the anticipated behaviours.

of-l 2018


mastery and uncertainty

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