learning the ropes

things I made at ITP and after: sketches, prototypes, and other documentation

Monday, October 22, 2007

First Map Memories

Last class, Rachel asked us to try to recall our first mapping memory… What was the first map we remember learning how to read. I don’t remember specifically learning about maps in school. I can vaguely remember learning about lines of longitude and latitude, and maybe even an exercise where we took a list of longitude and latitude points and drew the shape of a country.

From a very early age (remembering way back to the first house I lived in), I had a map of the world on the wall of my bedroom (or maybe it was just the United States of America). More than anything else, it was a decoration.

The first thing that came to my mind when Rachel brought up map memories in class was reading Lego instructions. I’m almost positive I was putting together Lego models before I went to school. These pictorial representations of the steps used to construct a model using Lego bricks were the first maps I encountered: a schematic on a page represented discrete components in a pile of parts I had.

After locating each of the pieces called for by the model in my big pile of Lego bricks, I oriented and attached them according to the assembly diagrams. By following the “map,” I was able to not only construct the model I was working on, but I also began to take structural ideas from the maps and incorporate them into my own creates.

posted by Michael at 9:20 pm  

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Multimedia and Performance

We’re reading a selection called “Multimedia and Performance” for Performing Technology. It’s a chronology of the development of performance art from the mid 1960s through the late 1990s. Although our theme for the week is “Theater and Narrative,” I’m having a hard time discerning the concept of narrative in the pieces; however, the story of the chronology of the pieces seems like an interesting narrative and so I’ve tried to illustrate it as a map. I’m not sure if this is useful, but the dense text made it difficult to sort out who was working with who and who they influenced.


I tried to use Bubbl.us to do this, but it made a big mess. What I really want is a tool that let’s me describe relationships as text…

created/exhibited/performed: [blah] – when – where
influenced: [person]
collaborated with: [person] – when
part of: [group]

This sounds a lot like a social networking site. I want to be able to display a timeline of these events, or a cloud of related information.

posted by Michael at 7:16 pm  

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Agency of Mapping

As I was trying to wade through James Corner’s “The Agency of Mapping”, I decided to try a little mapping experiment of my own.

View Larger Map

This experiment doesn’t quite reflect the depth that Mr. Corner brings to his essay, but it does reveal some interesting biases in the author’s research. I’ve plotted the birthplaces of “mappers” that Corner mentions in his essay along with links I could find to their work — much of it in Google Books. It is interesting to note that all of the mappers he mentions were born in the western hemisphere and are male.

posted by Michael at 4:32 pm  

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere

I attended Conflux 2007 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at the suggestion of Rachel Adams, who is teaching “Widespread-Content: Mapping.” The most enjoyable thing all day was taking a walk in Williamsburg guided by a fictional hurricane evacuation story called “Water, Water Everywhere” by Jennifer Treuting. I’ve created a map of my walk that is a subset of the map she presented.

View Larger Map

It’s interesting how a made up story was able to give me a context with which to explore a new area — and remember it very well. Usually when I’m walking in the city, there is nothing to anchor memories and I never know the stories behind the places I see.

posted by Michael at 7:09 pm  

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