Teaching again the MAP seminar at l’ESA this semester. Last year the students did a great job of exploring the five senses. Following a discussion with Dk Osseo-Asare from Low Design Office this summer, I am rethinking the acronym, changing it to Motorizing Architecture Processes instead of Motorizing Architecture Paradigms. The “wordsmithing” is necessary as I decided to focus on mapping the invisible, exploring the agency of maps and the parallel between the processes of mapping and designing.
While projection systems and technologies have increased their accuracy (we think of today’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS), open digital mapping platforms such as “open street map”, and locative media), maps have gained agencies, which challenged their “veracity”. Maps, like the census and the museum, can enable the construction of national identity (O’Gorman Anderson, 1991). Maps include and exclude, prompting author Philippe Vasset to explore the unrepresented spaces of maps, these left blank (Vasset, 2007). (Dis)information visualization, which is what maps essentially do, is about editing information (collecting and choosing), organizing (in a collection) and coding it. Now, maps are also dynamic, “perpetually updated objects” to the point that we “inhabit both the city and its representation” (Desbois, 2011). Maps thus precede territories (Baudrillard, 1983); they exist before that territories materialize. The codes embedded within become the parameters of an imagined or could be space.