Unreal Nature

July 23, 2016

A New System of Play

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:51 am

… mapping strategies propose organizational field-systems that both instigate and sustain …

Continuing through the essay ‘The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention’ by James Corner found in Mappings edited by Denis Cosgrove (1999):

… Plotting entails the ‘drawing out’ of new and latent relationships that can be seen amongst the various extracts within the field. There are, of course, an infinite number of relationships that can be drawn depending upon one’s criteria or agenda. [ … ] In addition to geometrical and spatial plotting, taxonomic and genealogical procedures of relating, indexing and naming can often be extremely productive in revealing latent structures. Such techniques may produce insights that have both utility and metaphoricity.

[line break added] In either case, plotting entails an active and creative interpretation of the map to reveal, construct and engender latent sets of possibility. Plotting is not simply the indiscriminate listing and inventorying of conditions, as in a tracing, a table or a chart, but rather a strategic and imaginative drawing-out of relational structures. To plot is to track, to trace, to set-in-relation, to find and to found. In this sense, plotting produces a ‘re-territorialization’ of sites.

… A relatively new development in the design of large-scale urban and landscape fabrics has been ‘layering.’ This involves the superimposition of various independent layers one upon the other to produce a heterogeneous and ‘thickened’ surface.

… When these separate layers are overlaid together, a stratified amalgam of relationships amongst parts appears. The resulting structure is a complex fabric, without center, hierarchy or single organizing principle. The composite field is instead one of multiple parts and elements, cohesive at one layer but disjunct in relation to others.

[line break added] Such richness and complexity cannot be gained by the limited scope of the single master-plan or the zoning plan, both of which group, hierarchicalize and isolate their component parts. Unlike the clear order of the compositional plan, the layering of independently structured conditions leads to a mosaic-like field of multiple orders, not unlike the combination of different colored paint delineations for the playing of games superimposed on a gymnasium floor.

[line break added] One layer becomes legible only through the lens of the game or rules of use that apply to it. But, of course, the possibility of ‘hybrid’ games becomes possible here too — not only may things occur simultaneously side-by-side, but they may also merge as a new event structure (as in many children’s games where throwing, hitting, passing and running are combined into a new system of play).

… Another way one can characterize the multiplying functions of layering is in terms of indeterminacy. Unlike a traditional plan, the layered field remains open to any number of interpretations, uses and transformation in time. Just as upon the gymnasium floor, almost anything can happen; the layered structure provides little restraint or imposition.

[line break added] Unlike traditional plans, maps share this open-ended characteristic. Maps are not prescriptive but infinitely promising. Thus, as constructed projects, mapping strategies propose organizational field-systems that both instigate and sustain a range of activities and interpretations in time.

My most recent previous post from Corner’s essay is here.

-Julie

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