The Space of Cartography

Gabriel Carrascal Aguirre

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“All perceiving is also thinking, all reasoning is also intuition, all observation is also invention” Rudolph Arnheim


Among the places found inside contemporary cities, a certain kind of space exists, the importance of which is often overlooked, even by those who are charged with creating them. This could be explained by the fact that, singularly, these spaces do not have a specific location, since they are in essence symbolic or conceptual in character. I am referring to our way of graphically representing our environment: maps. As will soon be explained, the map in itself is a place that substitutes the reality that it represents. It is a surrogate space that operates fundamentally through analogy and abstraction.
The production and use of this type of space carries important implications in the configuration of our physical environment at any scale, be it that of a project, a city or the land. The transformative capacity of cartographic activity will be comparable here to project design, refuting the usual conception about both as having essentially different natures; project design is usually seen as being dynamic in character and tinged with specific actions leading to a transformation of the environment over time, while maps are reduced to being a static projection of an existing physical reality onto a smaller surface. The fundamental idea behind putting maps and projects on the same level rests on the fact that any form of spatial representation entails an exercise of acting upon the represented object.


Palabras clave

place; cartography; landscape; abstraction; geometry

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Copyright (c) 2016 Autor / BY-NC-ND