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OPERATIVE MAPPING Maps as Design Tools

The purpose of this book is to explore the critical uses of maps in design, and it introduces the concept of operative mapping HN in an understanding as its cornerstone. This concept is rooted (1:53) of mapping as a design tool. Maps don’t merely inform; they DN propose. They don’t offer a HA neutral representation of reality; they (5:50) (2:01) DN DA construct reality in a particular way. In that sense, mapping is a (2:01)(5:13) propositive discipline, and not simply a descriptive one.

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OPERATIVE MAPPING Maps as Design Tools ROGER PAEZ


OPERATIVE MAPPING Maps as Design Tools ROGER PAEZ


Cover image: Roger Paez. Map of the Outside, Mas d’Enric Penitentiary, 2012. Back cover image: Roger Paez, Manuela Valtchanova, Rodrigo Aguirre. Public flows, clusters of activity and gathering spots in a Sant Boi square on June 9, 2018 between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. (detail), 2019.


Foreword 8 ———————— Introduction 6

————————

CONCEPT ———— 14 16 The Operative Potential of Mappinggggggg

OPERATIVE MAPPING 18 ———————————— Two Maps 21 ———————————— The Concept of Operative Mapping 23 ———————————— Operative Maps and Diagrammatic Practices 29 ———————————— Positivity, Expressivity and Operativity 35 ———————————— The Map as a Mediation System 40 ———————— MAPPING THE MAP 40 ———————————— Mapping Begets Further Mappings 42 ———————————— Contemporary Redefinitions of the Map 50 ———————————— Structure, Process, Performance 59 ———————————— Critical Cartography 86 ———————————— Urban Dérives: Critical Mapping Practices 103 ——————————— Post-Representational Cartography 116 ——————————— Augmented Mapping ————————

SCOPE ———— 118 120 Re-envisioning Mapsgggggg

Toward a Contemporary Imaginary 125 ——————— EIDETIC ATLAS 125 ———————————— Appropriation: Constructing Reality by Claiming It 134 ———————————— Measure: Knowledge in Measuring 142 ———————————— Narrative: Map as Text 151 ———————————— Geogram: Inscribable Earth 164 ———————————— Dynamis: Addressing Time 172 ———————————— Emptiness: Activating Empty Space 184 ———————————— Flight: Beyond Dominant Representations 199 ———————————— Coda

PRACTICE ———— 200 Mapping Agency in Designgggggg 202

———————————

Chronological Scope 206 ———————————— Pioneers of Operative Mapping 218 ——————— MAPPING AS A DESIGN TOOL 218 ———————————— Modes of Operative Mapping 227 ———————————— Visions 242 ———————————— Constructions 259 ———————————— Protocols 280 ———————————— Instruments ————————————

Epilogue 314 ———————— Works Cited 307

————————


FOREWORD by Iñaki Ábalos Operative Mapping by Roger Paez, the result of a long process of academic and professional research, is a well-ordered, consistent and brilliant presentation of the relationship between maps and design – a subject that is both complex and highly relevant to architecture and the design disciplines. Roger Paez’s research deals with one of the most interesting issues in architecture today. First, reflecting on ways of mapping reality and how that ties in with design is of clear interest to the discipline. Second, because the issue is doubly provocative in our times: both due to the enormous wealth of resources that digital advances have provided for cartography; and due to the political and social implications of what we choose to map – in other words, which data we select and make relevant, and which remain inactive as we represent, think about, and design based on the mapped reality. Moreover, the author’s chosen perspective is especially relevant, since it runs parallel to a broad cross-disciplinary interest in the practice of mapping (at least since Robert Smithson, mapping has been repeatedly associated with a variety of artistic practices). And while this initial approach to the issue is broad in its focus – which frees it from being tied down by the stability of established knowledge, the chosen angle is also very apt, since the subject is extensive and needs to be delimited. In that sense, the definition of ‘operative mapping’ helps narrow the field in a way that is intimately correlated with design. Roger Paez’s concept of operative mapping presupposes the concurrence of analytical and projective moments, inherent in the performativity of computer protocols, and it provides an important source for reflection on the architect’s role as “creator”. In that sense, the focus is not merely representation, but an exploration of the possibilities that are generated by suitably protocolized information (whether manually or digitally) when it comes to anticipating and modeling – in other words, designing. Roger Paez’s research contains all the core features of ambitious work: first, a familiarity with truly interesting primary sources, due to his experience in U.S. academic institutions with designers and professors who are leaders in the field; second, an admirable methodological precision, which demonstrates the author’s in-depth knowledge of the subject and his awareness of its pitfalls; and, finally, a perspective that guarantees the originality of his work.


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Beyond other significant considerations, such as the use of operative mapping in the professional sphere, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight the academic implications of this work. I believe that one of the most important things we can do is to consider its usefulness, both in terms of a conceptual contribution and a pragmatic one: ultimately, how can we put this research to use? I am more and more certain that one of the main interests of this book is how it can introduce students to design through the use of drawing, the use of representation, the use of a language to help them understand that there are many possibilities for perceiving a reality: from a purely positivist point of view to an activist one; from attempting a representation that is as objective as possible to relying on pure subjectivity. On an academic level, we are always faced with the problem of where to begin; the taxonomies laid out in this book offer a way to introduce students to the enormous capabilities of the architectural language and of representation in general. The current interest in representation is no coincidence. The contemporary world calls for new maps to help us identify opportunities, to modify routine ways of understanding our surroundings, and to build actions and strategies for transforming the world around us. In that sense, we need approaches that are more complex than strictly visual ones, in order to establish organizational, descriptive and projective models that avoid simplification, stimulating instead the recognition and creation of more complex and unstable orders. Operative Mapping delves into all of this with an original approach, a solid conceptual angle and a series of magnificent examples by designers who make drawing into a philosophy – where drawing is understood like Roger Paez understands maps: as a way of accessing multiple levels of reality (both physical and mental) in order to breathe new life into it, adapting it to emerging uses and values through architecture, landscape and design.


INTRODUCTION

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The purpose of this book is to explore the critical uses of maps in design, and it introduces the concept of operative mapping as its cornerstone. This concept is rooted in an understanding of mapping as a design tool. Maps don’t merely inform; they propose. They don’t offer a neutral representation of reality; they construct reality in a particular way. In that sense, cartography is a propositive discipline, and not simply a descriptive one. The potentially operative nature of maps in design is clear. The particular constructions of reality inherent in maps not only offer new understandings of the reality being mapped; they also set in motion new possibilities for an actual transformation of the milieu. It is in that sense that we talk about mapping operativity: maps and mapping are posited as tools with an enormous power to affect the design processes we use to transform our environment. This book studies the different kinds of operative relationships between maps and design practices, and it outlines pathways for an in-depth exploration of this relationship. Despite an evident interest in maps in art and spatial design practices beginning in the 1950s, critical and deliberate uses of maps as design tools are surprisingly sparse. Based on this observation, our initial working hypothesis is that there is a lot of room for exploring the potential operative relationships between maps and design. A second hypothesis is that mapping logics and practices can lead to a reevaluation and even an expansion of design logics and practices, gradually giving way to a reconsideration of the aims, processes and formats of design. Beyond the instrumental possibilities of mapping in design – in the sense of framing the physical setting for a project, or in the sense of informing specific design decisions – we find that the critical use of maps is an indicator of design approaches that are, in our view, especially interesting and relevant. These approaches are characterized, among other things, by engaging in a projective survey of the conditions of the milieu. By projective survey we are referring to a design attitude, rooted in both pragmatism and critical thinking, that posits any transformation of the milieu as drawing on an understanding of what already exists, without bowing to the tyranny of what already is. Through the concept and the practices of operative mapping, as they are presented in this book, we can establish a dialogue between what exists and what is yet to come, thus promoting engaged and innovative design focused on the substantive and symbolic expansion of the milieu.

Previous page: Four Robot Maps. Lluc Paez-Bunning (six years old), 2011.


This book aims to address the following fundamental questions: — Framing mapping as a practice that can be incorporated into design. — Presenting the problematic nature of maps and their critical potential. — Exploring mapping operativity in design in the light of intensive uses of maps in other disciplines. — Reframing maps and mapping through a constellation of concepts that articulates the role of maps from a critical perspective. — Studying projects that demonstrate operative uses of mapping in design in recent years. — Proposing a taxonomy for the different modes of mapping operativity in design. — Suggesting future avenues to be explored in the use of maps as design tools. Finally, we should state very clearly that the main goal of this book is to make a methodological contribution, on both a conceptual and an instrumental level, to all design practices – from strategic design to product and graphic design, with a special focus on architecture and spatial design practices, including building design, interior design, urban planning, urban design, landscape architecture, landscape design, public space design and temporary space design, among others.1 Although history is a part of this research – the history of mapping and of contemporary design – we are not following a historicist approach, but a fundamentally pragmatistic one. Our aim is not merely to explain the present, but above all to create a toolkit for the immediate future that can help expand the aims, methodologies and formats of design.

1. Although the conceptual framework and instrumental toolkit presented here are potentially applicable to all design disciplines, this book focuses on architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. For an intensive use of operative mapping in the emerging field of temporary space design, refer to the ongoing work of MEATS Master’s degree in Ephemeral Architecture and Temporary Spaces, ELISAVA. See MEATS n.d., see also Montes and Paez 2013.


State of the Art

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The concept of operative mapping as it is developed in this book is, in our opinion, an original concept. That originality does not imply, however, that the practices associated with it must be original. Nor are we suggesting that the underlying questions implicit in the idea of mapping operativity have never been addressed: on the contrary, maps are the focus of a very broad contemporary debate. In fact, there has never been so much conversation on maps and mapping as in recent years. Maps have breached disciplinary boundaries to become both a conceptual and instrumental tool in many spheres of knowledge and contemporary practice – including design. The “love stories” between mapping and design have been many and varied, especially over the past three decades. This book bears witness to their wealth and vitality, while attempting to trace the connections between different design approaches that nonetheless share a common interest in mapping operativity. Myriad texts have delved into related issues and paved the way for the conceptualization of mapping operativity in design as it is outlined in this book. These largely theoretical texts kicked off the conceptual formalization of practices that emerged in architectural design during the 1950s, and which took on major relevance in the mid-80s, as we will see later on. Over the past 30 years, a wide range of authors including Bernard Tschumi, Stan Allen, Alejandro Zaera, Enric Miralles, Manuel Gausa, James Corner, Peter Eisenman, Alex Wall, Marie-Ange Brayer, Keller Easterling, Ciro Najle, Iñaki Ábalos, Janet Abrams / Peter Hall, Denis Cosgrove, Jeremy Crampton and Jill Desimini / Charles Waldheim have more or less explicitly pointed to the relevance of the relationship between maps and design.2 This relationship has also inspired many other contributions, which, although they may be less well known, are of significant interest in the context of this book.3 Finally, there are the author’s own contributions, in a series of articles and a doctoral dissertation, noted below. This list of authors and texts passes over some figures who have made contributions that are essential to the conceptual framework for operative mapping as we present it here, but whose work does not deal as explicitly with the relationship between map and design. These include Reyner Banham, William Bunge, Michel de Certeau, Martin Dodge, Franco Farinelli, John Harley, David Harvey, Christian Jacob, Fredric Jameson, Rob Kitchin, Bruno Latour, Chris Perkins, John Pickles, Jean-Loup Rivière, David Turnbull and Denis Wood, among others.4

2. Without attempting exhaustivity, and to cite just a few of the most relevant texts, it is worth mentioning: Tschumi 1996b; Allen 2000; Zaera 1994; Miralles 2009; Allen 1999a; Gausa et al. 1998; Corner 1999a; Eisenman 1999:162-209; Corner 1999b; Wall 1999; Easterling 2002; Najle 2003; Ábalos 2005: 59-104; Abrams and Hall 2006:12-17; Cosgrove 2008:155-168; Crampton 2010:177-184; Gausa 2010b: 126-131; Ábalos 2011b:1227; Desimini and Waldheim 2016: 8-18. 3. For example: Conde 2000:216-225; Azulay 1999; Elvira 2005; Khourian 2004; Weller 2006; Amoroso 2010; Coll 2011; Bailo 2013. 4. The contributions of many of these authors are discussed in this book. See the Works Cited list.


Ultimately, the concept of operative mapping draws on and critically develops a series of concepts that have been cemented over the past three decades.5 Nonetheless, when it comes to a precise, formal and published conceptualization of operative mapping as it appears in this book, the first instance we know of is in the author’s own article “Cartografías Operativas y Mapas de Comportamiento” [Operative Cartographies and Behavioral Maps].6 Subsequently, the author has further developed the concept in an ongoing series of texts.7 The author’s doctoral disseration Cartografia Operativa: Usos del Mapa al Projecte Arquitectònic, 1982-2012 [Operative Cartography: Mapping Agency in Architectural Design, 1982-2012], deserves special mention since it served as the basis for this book, and it is a reference worth consulting for anyone interested in broadening their knowledge and rounding out the information provided here.8 With the concept of operative mapping as our starting point, the goal of this book is to generate knowledge that will support new readings of past discourse and production, while, we hope, forging new paths for future research and novel design practices.

Structure of this Book This book is organized into three parts, which deal with the use of maps as design tools from three different perspectives. The first part, “CONCEPT: The Operative Potential of Mapping”, outlines the book’s central concept in order to bring the notion of operative mapping into focus from the outset. It then charts the territory of the map, discussing cartography as a body of knowledge and a practice that is affected by historical context and subject to constant redefinitions. This part of the book is fundamentally theoretical. The second part, “SCOPE: Re-envisioning Maps”, presents a constellation of concepts derived from a critical approach to mapping, with the aim of broadening our understanding of maps and especially how we work with maps and through maps. It explores seven concepts based on 50 maps from disciplines other than design. Each of its seven sections focuses on one concept that articulates a particular vision and critical use of mapping. This part of the book is evocative, supported by a compilation of graphic material.

5. In chronological order from the oldest to the most recent, we can observe points of contact between operative mapping, as it is detailed in this book, and concepts such as ‘abstract mediation’ (Tschumi 1996b [1987]), ‘notation in architecture’ (Allen 2000 [1989]), ‘material topographies’ (Zaera 1994), ‘subjective maps’ (Miralles 1995), ‘field conditions’ (Allen 1999a [1996]), ‘projects as maps’, (Gausa et al. 1998), ‘mapping agency’ (Corner 1999a), ‘diagrams of exteriority’ (Eisenman 1999), ‘site plans’ (Easterling 1999b), ‘eidetic operations’ (Corner 1999b), ‘surface strategies’ (Wall 1999), ‘flatbeds’ (Corner 1999c), ‘social cartography’ (Azulay 1999), ‘topomorphies’ (Brayer 2000), ‘convolutedness’ (Najle 2003), ‘creative mediation’ (Khourian 2004), ‘remote control’ (Elvira 2005), ‘performative protocols’ (Ábalos 2005), ‘open maps’ (Gausa 2010b), ’mapscapes’ (Coll 2011) and ‘thermodynamic cartographies’ (Ábalos 2011b). 6. See Paez 2009.


The third part, “PRACTICE: Mapping Agency in Design”, provides a detailed examination of the relationship between maps and design, proposing a taxonomy of the different operative uses of maps in spatial design practices: visions, constructions, protocols and instruments. These four basic modes are illustrated through 24 projects in architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture, which provide concrete examples to complement the conceptual framework developed in the preceding chapters. This part is fundamentally propositive, focused above all on practical case studies that testify to the wealth of operative relationships between map and design. The most challenging mappings today are found in the creative and imaginative work of artists, architects and designers, neither seeking absolute empirical warranty for their maps nor claiming for them any metaphysical revelation. Mapping in a flexible era has become a creative and critical intervention within broader discourses of space and the ways that it may be inhabited. Mapping is freed from the problems of factual legitimacy and authority with which a centric and rationalist model of absolute space has until recently burdened it.9

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7. See “Toward an Operative Cartography”, “Derivas Urbanas: la Ciudad Extrañada” [Urban Dérives: The Estranged City], “Map of the Outside”, “Mapping Emptiness: Cartographic Activations of Empty Space”, “Introducción al Concepto de Cartografía Operativa” [Introduction to the Concept of Operative Mapping]. The references for the publications where these texts can be found are: Paez 2013a, Paez 2013b, Paez 2014: 9093, Paez 2015a, Paez 2017 respectively. 8. See Paez 2015b. 9. Cosgrove 1999b: 19.

R_______E. Santa Monica Boulevard III-A User Manual. Juan Azulay, 1999.


Concept: The Operative Potential of Mapping


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OPERATIVE MAPPING

Two Maps Both of the preceding images are maps. Despite their obvious differences, they share deep similarities. In fact, their similarities are much more meaningful than their differences. More importantly in the context of this book, the characteristics they share help to highlight the fundamental aspects of what we call operative mapping. The first image is a cognitive map of Boston by Kevin Lynch. The second is a psychogeographic map of Paris by Guy Debord. Both these maps have been a source of inspiration and influence in architecture, urban planning, the social sciences, political activism and the arts. The reason for the influence of these maps has to do, on the one hand, with the fact that they offer a new vision of reality and, on the other hand, with their ability to help us imagine new ways of transforming that reality. There are profound similarities between the maps by Lynch and Debord. Both are from the same period, their object is the city, their focus is on perception. Both Lynch and Debord use the map format because it is the type of document that can best record subjective perceptions and transform them into knowledge that can be transmitted intersubjectively. Both maps document urban morphology as it relates to city-dwellers’ perceptions. Both maps dehomogenize urban space, revealing areas of intensity, vectors of movement and referential nodes associated with the city’s use. Both maps record perceived connections and areas of significance, but they also denote barriers, cul-desacs and limit conditions. Finally, they both reveal the impossibility of determining an absolute and definitive representation of the urban landscape. In addition to mapping a positive understanding of the city, both Lynch and Debord also map doubt, which becomes instrumental: in both cases, the maps treat certainties and uncertainties with the same level of intensity. Ultimately, Lynch and Debord’s maps are documents that broaden and enrich our understanding of reality, while avoiding one of the pitfalls of conventional cartography: naturalizing the version of reality that is transmitted by the map.

Previous pages: Preliminary sketch for The visual form of Boston, as seen in the field. Kevin Lynch, circa 1957 The Naked City. Guy-Eugène Debord, 1957


Both Lynch and Debord have no choice but to invent their own maps, because there is no other suitable mechanism for recording the aspects of urban reality that interest them: the functionalists’ morphological analyses do not satisfy Lynch’s need to understand urban form from the standpoint of perception, with the goal of reforming the objectives and methods of post-war urban design;10 nor do the Lettrists’ metagraphs satisfy Debord’s desire to develop techniques that transcend strictly evocative urban perspectives in order to help construct the operative tools of Situationist unitary urbanism.11 It follows that, as innovative cartographic constructions, both maps are responsible for generating new concepts to describe urban reality. Both Lynch and Debord develop new terminology, which they incorporate into the legends, titles and texts that accompany their maps. According to Lynch, the mental images we create of cities are made up mainly of ‘paths’, ‘edges’, ‘districts’, ‘nodes’ and ‘landmarks’.12 These mental categories promote urban legibility, fostering a recognition of spaces in the city and its full appropriation as a place that supports social life. According to Debord, on a perceptual level, the city is made up of different units of ambiance that relate to one another through a psychogeographic topography consisting of psychogeographic slopes and atmospheric borders.13 Certain of the units of ambiance, or part of them, act as turning plates, which link with different units of ambiance and become unique spots in the urban experiential fabric. Importantly, both Lynch’s and Debord’s maps reveal an urban reality that is based on a direct experience of the city through performative logics. The mental image of a city is defined much more by the different ways it can be used as a setting for social life, rather than through conventional cartographic abstraction. Conventional maps show urban relationships of contiguity as defined abstractly by metric distance in plan. Lynch’s cognitive map and Debord’s psychogeographic map, however, describe these urban relationships in terms of experience. Both maps leave behind a representation of the city in strictly geographic terms to propose urban representations that highlight the importance of holistic perception as a means for accessing urban reality. As we commented earlier, however, beyond the explicit similarities in the maps by Lynch and Debord, what is truly meaningful for our purposes is the fact that both maps introduce the basic tenets of what we have conceptualized in this book as operative mapping. The documents by Lynch and Debord are, first, maps and, second, operative maps. They are maps in that they are graphic devices that record specific aspects of reality, while providing a spatial understanding of them. They are operative maps because they expand the field of the real and promote its transformation.

Operative Mapping __19

10. “Giving visual form to the city is a special kind of design problem, and a rather new one at that. In the course of examining this new problem [...] we might begin to [...] offer some first principles of city design.” Lynch 1960: v. 11. For more on Lettrist metagraphs from the 1950s, see examples by Maurice Lamaître, Gil J. Wolman, Guy Debord, or Gilles Ivain. For more on unitary urbanism, see Debord 2006: 308-328. 12. See Lynch 1960: 46-83. 13. See Debord 2006: 228-292.


Critical Mapping Practices As we commented at the beginning of the previous section, outside academic circles, critical cartography is supported by new mapping practices rooted largely, but not exclusively, in the art world and social activism. Crampton and Krygier coined the concept of critical mapping practices as those practices, outside academia, that have explored the critical potential of maps.121 They present map art and open source mapping as the most relevant examples of critical mapping practices. However, beyond the artistic reflections on the map and the democratization of mapping inherent in open source practices, the sphere of critical mapping practices should be expanded to include other equally significant practices that are rarely recognized in the specialized literature. With the aim of reviewing contemporary critical cartographic practices in all their richness and variety, we propose grouping them into the following three categories: countermapping, map art, and geoweb, although many critical practices participate in more than one of the categories that we will be describing in the following pages. Countermapping

121. See Crampton and Krygier 2006. 122. Denis Wood uses the term countermapping in a broader sense, to encompass any critical use of mapping: Wood 2010a: 110-255. We feel it is appropriate to separate the concept of countermapping from other critical mapping practices like map art and next generation mapping processes derived from geospatial web technology.

The concept of countermapping refers to the production of maps that counteract 123. See Peluso 1995. dominant power structures, with the aim of breaking with the hegemonic discourse’s monopoly over the representation of reality for the purpose of defending ethnic, cultural or 124. Neitschmann 1995: 34. political minority interests.122 Although the idea of subversive mapping dates back further, the term ‘countermapping’ was coined by Nancy Peluso in 1995 to describe the maps made by the indigenous inhabitants and traditional users of the forests of Kalimantan, Indonesia as a way of calling into question government maps, which systematically ignored indigenous interests.123 Countermapping draws on the fact that conventional maps incorporate a significant political weight that favors the hegemonic interests in a particular territory, ignoring (or at least minimizing) other interests that are equally legitimate but often in the minority. There are various currents within countermapping, which can be Next two pages: subdivided into three groups: native mapping, parish mapping and maptivism. Native mapping encompasses maps that defend aboriginal peoples’ rights to ancestral lands. They are based on the idea that “more indigenous territory has been claimed by maps than by guns. And more Indigenous territory can be reclaimed and defended by maps than by guns.”124 By mapping the traditional uses of resources in a territory (hunting, fishing, gathering, water, wood, etc.), native mapping is used to document traditional ways of life, while defending a certain control over resources on the part of

Maps of the tribal lands of the Southern Pitjantjatjara aboriginal peoples, legal constitution of aboriginal lands and gradual incorporation of the areas of De Rose Hill and Tieyon, Australia. Elkin (1933), Tindale (1974), Burke (2001) and National Native Title Tribunal (2013).


Mapping the Map __69


the indigenous population and even the establishment of territorial claims. Some of these native countermaps have been successfully used in courtrooms and legislative houses in countries such as Canada and Australia, and to a lesser extent the United States, to substantiate claims and support bill proposals in defense of native populations, who have nearly always been marginalized in their ancestral lands. Responding to a demand for recognition of indigenous territorial rights, the Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project was set in motion, which included a large number of native maps. The project was instrumental in the creation of the Canadian territory of Nunavut in 1999, which currently has its own government and legislative assembly.125 In the rest of the world, and particularly in developing nations, native countermaps are used to denounce the invisibility of traditional populations and to advocate for different ways of understanding the relationship between human beings and the territory.

Mapping the Map __71

125. See Hicks and White 2000.

Parish maps are countermaps generated to visualize and defend local emotional landscapes, microstories, recollections, narratives and interests, which are often diluted by official maps. One interesting example is the Parish Map Project, launched in England in 1985, with the aim of helping the inhabitants of each parish to identify elements of local interest in their surroundings. As of today, more than 2,500 English, Welsh and Scottish parishes have joined the initiative, producing a large quantity of countermaps, often in ideographic formats, which highlight certain physical, historical and experiential elements in the territory, promoting a sense of belonging and expressing local values that do not appear in dominant representations. ‘Maptivism’, a contraction of the words map and activism, refers to the production and use of maps to denounce situations of social injustice and to promote actions directed at righting them. This area of countermapping is incredibly broad and rich, often tied in with the logics of open source mapping, as well as operative mapping as we describe it in this book. Maptivism ranges from spontaneous bottom-up initiatives to people, or particularly organized collectives, who, inspired in equal measure by the artist Hans Haacke and the geographer William Bunge, have created veritable platforms for protest that work with large quantities of information, using powerful and effective systems for processing that information graphically. Notable authors in this last group include Lize Mogel, Mona Fawaz or Trevor Paglen and teams such as Bureau d’Études, Hackitectura, RaumLabor, Stalker, Rotor, Labor k3000, Institute for Applied Autonomy and Straddle 3. The latter two are deeply involved with the digital public domain and the use of new technologies to expand activists’ autonomy and promote participatory urban development. Significantly, a large number of the aforementioned collectives have been formed by architects, who explore alternative ways of building our shared environment.

Next double page: A Personal Parish: Twenty Years of Living and Walking in the Environments of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Overview and detail. David Nash, 1986.


Mapping the Map __73


Scope: Reenvisioning Maps


Toward a Contemporary Imaginary

A Constellation [In my studio] there are perhaps a hundred [unfinished canvases]. I’m interested in not inhibiting the urge that moves me. I can’t stop myself. I feel increasingly drawn in; it’s magical. In the morning I come down into this studio, and I feel inescapably drawn in by something. I can’t help it. [...] That’s right, [like] an animal surveying its territory.1 When a body of work reaches a certain critical mass, as Miró describes it, it is no longer understood in terms of individual pieces but as a continuum. Maps, like the canvases in Miró’s studio, attract our interest not only as particular documents that help us access certain ways of constructing the human world, but above all because they lay out a domain for research and survey – kind of like the animal’s territory that Miró evokes. Taking up this logic of defining a territory for research, the aim of this chapter is to present a series of maps to help us understand focal points with a particular cartographic intensity – questions that mapping often addresses even if they may not seem like central issues, at least at first glance. The selection of the following 50 maps is the result of an attempt to highlight these moments of intensity, defining them loosely and flexibly, like constellations. The idea of a constellation involves an open-ended ordering. Miró himself used the title Constellations to refer to a series of 23 paintings on paper done between 1939 and 1941, taking the name to indicate the profound yet flexible link between the different paintings in the series. The constellation of maps that follows is not intended to establish a conventional taxonomy based on a systematic classification. It is more like the start of an eidetic atlas, a collection of images intended to generate enough critical mass to let us recognize certain continuities and underlying tendencies in the history of mapping. Our method is both experimental and intuitive, although not without precision – like someone outlining constellations by grouping stars together. When we identify constellations in the sky, sometimes the narrative directs their reading (like the hunter Orion is followed closely by his dogs, the constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor), and sometimes a particular arrangement of stars suggests a narrative (like seven bright stars all together are the Pleiades, the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione).

1. Miró 1977: 38.


In the same way, in these cartographic constellations, sometimes the concept suggests a map and other times the map leads to a concept.

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In this chapter, we draw on maps’ intense evocative quality, presenting them without defining a priori their interpretative frameworks in order to avoid hampering “the urge that moves us”, to borrow Miró’s words. The idea is to let ourselves be “inescapably drawn in” by the seductive power of maps, like “an animal surveying its territory”, with the aim of generating the beginnings of a contemporary cartographic imaginary that addresses maps with passion (“I can’t help it”) and with care to “avoid spoiling the freshness of the stroke that breathes”. I cleaned my brushes directly on the canvas, using gasoline, like this [makes a gesture]. I’m not going to touch it too much, to keep that freshness, that violence. Above all, it is essential to avoid spoiling the freshness of the stroke that breathes, it’s like a heartbeat.2

A Critical Perspective We know how to talk about large-scale or small-scale maps, physical or political maps, primary or derived maps. All these classifications come from the dominant cartographic discipline, rooted in scientific positivism. To restate our earlier argument, positivism understands the map’s goal to be a faithful representation of certain aspects of the territory, in which the main concern is to minimize any possible distortion between reality and its cartographic representation. However, experience shows us that maps are much more complex and much less clear-cut than the positivist narrative would have us believe. Leaving behind the metaphor of maps as a mirror of nature, we feel it is more appropriate and enriching to posit the map as a cultural text.3 Based on maps’ textuality, “we are able to embrace a number of different interpretative possibilities. Instead of just the transparency of clarity we can discover the pregnancy of the opaque. To fact we can add myth, and instead of innocence we may expect duplicity.”4 Through an attentive reading we can interpret maps, taking into account not only the explicit discourse they present but also their intertextual dimension, which is often much richer than it may initially seem. As opposed to the conception of maps as a value-free description of reality, we understand maps as a kind of power-knowledge, following Michel Foucault. Given that the term

2. Miró 1977: 42. In the original French, the quote from Miró plays on the multiple meaning of the word “trait”, which means both stroke (of paint), characteristic feature (of the painting) and shot (violence). 3. Harley 1989: 7. 4. Harley 1989: 7-8.


power-knowledge refers to the role of knowledge in the generation and preservation of power structures, it is evident that mapping falls clearly into this category: maps are active and effective agents in the struggles intended to alter power relations. Maps and mapping participate actively in defining and delineating conditions of possibility for the exercise of power and its visualization. Both the immediate ambitions of the burgeoning Modern state in the 16th century to align cartography with the interests of the state, and the current explosion of experiences with radical cartographies in the context of global activism are clear expressions of the deep ties between map and power. Mapping is a cultural discourse intimately bound to the expression and the exercise of power. A map constructs and reveals a particular vision of the world rooted in positions that, implicitly or explicitly, articulate certain interests. Maps are used to support the legitimacy of those positions; yet, most significantly, maps can be used to naturalize social reality, erasing the struggles that led to a particular status quo, just as they can serve to open up new understandings of the milieu that break down the monopoly over the representation of reality. Ultimately, and as we indicated earlier, new cartographic (re)presentations generate new ways of understanding the milieu, providing for new transformations of reality. In other words, in this chapter we will be looking at maps in themselves, delving into their formal and structural qualities as documents, as well as the (technical, social and cultural) practices that made them possible. We will adhere to Christian Jacob’s pragmatic-formal methodology, consisting in “following a path, or various paths, on the surface of maps”, in order to avoid being tied to a thematic approach or a historical analysis, allowing for a maximum of freedom in our interpretations.5 As we explained earlier, this chapter aims to begin building an atlas of notable maps, a soft taxonomy in the form of a constellation of concepts to help us articulate the role of maps from a critical perspective, not subsumed to the prevailing positivism in cartography. These specific examples were selected to reveal the intense cultural charge that maps incorporate, showing the impossibility of understanding maps from a strictly representational perspective. The epistemology offered by scientific positivism is entirely insufficient in understanding maps. Far from being simple windows onto the world, transparent and neutral, as scientific cartography would have us believe, maps are a complex system of propositions that carry a large number of non-explicit cultural propositions in their coding. One of their main appeals is precisely this ability to distill simple graphic images that incorporate a significant intertextual dimension. In our opinion, the map’s function as a cultural document justifies the construction of a broad cartographic imaginary through a critical examination of maps from the past.

5. Jacob 2006: xvii.


Questions of Method Positivist cartography uses a series of operative concepts to define its object of interest and its framework for operation. As a counter to the hegemony of the positivist model, and to open up new cartographic fields, contemporary critical cartography needs to develop its own operative concepts, its own taxonomies and its own interpretative frameworks. The following pages present a series of concepts that let us talk about maps from a critical perspective. The concepts in this eidetic atlas are not organized according to a tree structure, but rather as a constellation, as we asserted above. A classic tree structure implies, on the one hand, an overall coherence (mutual reducibility among the concepts, comparability) and, on the other hand, a hierarchical order (leaves break off from stems, stems from branches, branches from the trunk). A constellation however – in the cosmic sense, or as Joan Miró describes it – is made up of isolated points, which are connected to one another by a specific and mutable narrative. In a constellation, there are no fixed hierarchical relationships between concepts, nor are there presupposed coherences that overdetermine the conceptual sphere. Rather, there are poles of attraction and repulsion that generate a dynamic interpretative framework – each new point of intensity can realign and reconfigure the others. A constellation is radically open, and it is an attempt at articulated thought free from the crutch of a systemic classificatory structure made up of mutually exclusive elements. On a methodological level, these maps were chosen without chronological or geographic limitations. However, this section avoids specifically architectural examples, since those will appear in the final chapter. The goal here is to draw from the history of cartography at large, to talk about overarching questions that are not necessarily tied to a certain period in a time, a specific space, or a particular approach to mapping. The format of the diptych helps us to establish relationships between the two component parts. Each of the diptychs aims to highlight similarities between the two maps. In that sense, the greater the difference between the maps being compared, the more evident what ties them together. It is worth noting that the goal of this chapter is, above all, to expand our cartographic imaginary by establishing principles of cartoliteracy – a certain map culture that is not solely based on historical categories, thematic classifications or chronological relationships, but rather on the maps themselves and their nature as rich and open documents. The eidetic atlas that follows works in two simultaneous directions: interpretation and projection. First, it aims to construct a certain cartographic imaginary based on images

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that are widely diverse but share the common characteristic of being maps that we put forward as critical documents. The critical bearing of these maps may be conscious or unconscious: for example, Rotor’s map of Poblenou is voluntarily and consciously posited as a critical document; whereas, the documents drawn by Aboriginal Australians are critical maps as seen from our contemporary Western perspective. In any case, the eidetic atlas constructs an incipient and expandable framework for interpreting contemporary practices of critical cartography. Second, the atlas’s expansion of our cartographic imaginary encourages us to imagine new maps, new mapping operations, and new uses for maps understood as an active and productive tool for redefining the world we live in. The atlas shows how maps are not limited to describing the world; they literally construct it, by lending a particular meaning to a preexisting reality, or by projecting alternative or future realities that expand the field of the real. Finally, this eidetic atlas, which should be understood as an open document, subject to continuous expansion and redefinition, is structured around seven concepts: Appropriation, Measure, Narrative, Geogram, Dynamis, Emptiness, and Flight. The concept of Appropriation refers to the map’s ability to construct reality by claiming it; Measure refers to the limits of understanding reality through measuring; Narrative demonstrates the map’s quality as text; Geogram refers to the map’s articulation of the relationship between ground and inscription; Dynamis talks about addressing time in maps; Emptiness refers to the cartographic activation of empty space; and Flight talks about maps’ proliferating tendency, which makes them able to reach beyond hegemonic modes of representation. Cosmographia Cynlepomachia cum Apio. Roger Paez + Lemmy, 2013.


EIDETIC ATLAS

Eidetic Atlas __125

Appropriation: Constructing Reality by Claiming It The concept of Appropriation refers to the map’s ability to construct reality by claiming it. At a very basic level, the map is a gesture of appropriating reality – both current and potential realities. The map is a system of appropriation, since it is used to select the aspects of reality that are considered relevant in each case. Those aspects are then put into relation in order to construct a particular vision of reality that responds, implicitly or explicitly, to specific appropriations. However, in addition to being a system, the map is also a symbol of appropriation: it is the mark or the graphic impression that naturalizes the claiming gesture. Once the appropriating action has been mapped, it no longer registers as violence (whether military, patrimonial, cultural or epistemological) and it is transformed into a simple state of affairs: this is here, this is how things are. France reaches as far as the Rhine (Cassini); Jerusalem is at the center of the world (Isidore of Seville); the Gulf Stream is a river in the ocean (Franklin); the world is divided between Castile and Portugal (Treaty of Tordesillas); the south is on top (Torres-Garcia). As mechanisms for appropriating reality, maps articulate different relationships between human beings and the world – sometimes with a territorializing intent, other times with a proliferating intent. In that sense, they broaden our understanding of reality, enriching it and, consequently, expanding our possibilities of engaging with it. Taking the Strait of Gibraltar as a case study, we propose a series of maps that reveal the different appropriations to which it has been subjected from three different angles: the mythical-cultural, the physical-geographical and the social-political. Each map conveys a particular vision of the Strait of Gibraltar, all of which hold true. Mapping claims reality in a specific way, and it generates the conceptual framework and the physical medium for a transformation of the environment. Archer’s map locates the headquarters of a Diocese and postulates it as the center of the Anglican Church in the Mediterranean Basin; García Lafuente’s map identifies the flows of marine energy and opens up avenues to harness it for human use; the map by Hackitectura shows it as a site for global injustice and constructs alternative scenarios to fight against this situation of profound asymmetry. Next double page:

Diocese of Gibraltar ( John Archer, 1842). Higden World Map (Ranulf Higden, 1342)


Eidetic Atlas __127


Practice: Mapping Agency in Design


Chronological Scope Maps are multi-faceted documents that can be read, used and claimed from very different interests. This openness, which allows and even promotes readings that are not limited by the map’s initial purpose, further complicates the already complex task proposed by this book. A careful study of operative mapping in design involves sociocultural issues, while also touching on disciplinary questions – both in cartography and in design. Certain cases may be interesting from one standpoint but not as significant from the other. To some extent, evaluating the relevance of an operative map based on the designs it helps to generate is inevitable. However, we have to be careful to avoid reducing the strength of a tool to its results – especially when dealing with a contemporary development that is very much alive and ongoing, as is the case here. The exploration of operative mapping in design is a relatively incipient phenomenon, subject to a high degree of experimentalism, and the vitality of the map-design pairing is so intense that it tends to obstruct sufficient analytical distance. Rather than establishing clear-cut categories, based on a historical and compartmentalizing vision of the operativity of maps in design, our aim is to examine examples that have emerged through the present day in order to investigate future avenues to be explored. In that respect, we deemed it necessary to limit the scope of this research to the contemporary period, in order to accomplish three goals: first, to acknowledge the recent expansion of multiple design fields due to the incorporation of the logics, processes and techniques of mapping; second, to provide a rich and nuanced vision of the different design practices that use maps as a tool, so as to illustrate operative mapping as an incredibly relevant and active contemporary issue; and, third, to make it easier to compare and establish a dialogue between the different experiences to support an in-depth analysis of the avenues currently being explored, for the purpose of orienting future research to continue redefining and expanding the field of spatial design. Chronologically, we decided to limit the scope of this research to the period from the 1980s until today. The reasons for that decision are clear: although there are earlier pioneers whose work is highly relevant, the compelling emergence of the use of maps as a design tool began in the 1980s.


The 1982 Parc de La Villette competition in Paris became a landmark, representing a shift in the world of design, and particularly architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture.1 Many of the most culturally significant submissions to the competition used maps in ways that had never been seen before. In the winning proposal by Bernard Tschumi, as well as in the designs by OMA and Peter Eisenman, maps – set loose from their strictly representational role – were used unequivocally as design tools. Building on the experiments for La Villette, in the 1980s and 1990s maps began to be used systematically as a device to invoke an external reality, which the design could then incorporate through the use of maps and mapping techniques. At the peak of postmodernism’s extreme self-referentiatlity – in both historicist and neo-avantgarde circles – the heteronymity of mapping, the appeal to exteriority embodied by the map, was perfectly aligned with an innovative architecture that sought to break away from the stifling autonomy of postmodernist design.

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1. See Allen 2009a: 181-189 for an analysis of the impact of the 1982 Parc de La Villette competition from the point of view of urban planning and architectural culture in general. See Waldheim 2006: 35-53 for La Villette as a turning point in architecture’s interest in landscape disciplines. Although they are mainly focused on the proposal submitted by OMA, see also Wall 1999:237ss, for an analysis of La Villette as horizontal architecture and on programming urban surfaces; Corner 1997 for a reflection on La Villette as a new model for truly ecological architecture based on the design of processes as opposed to finished works; and Weller 2006 for a compliation focused on the reception of the project La Villette.

Cannaregio Town Square, an early example of operative mapping in design. Peter Eisenman, 1978


the chronological limits of our research. First, in 1980, the Pompidou Center in Paris organized the large-scale exhibition Cartes Competition proposals et Figures de la Terre, curated by Giulio for Parc de la Villette, Macchi. The exhibition, and especially Paris, 1982 its catalog, edited by Jean-Loup Rivière, became a crucial point of reference for its conceptualization of mapping from Around the time of the landmark competition for La Villette, two other events rich, diverse perspectives. Maps were clearly presented as both technical and played a central role in the contemporary cultural documents simultaneously, and redefinition of maps, which also support Bernard Tschumi, OMA, Peter Eisenman


mapping was posited as a discipline with an “ambiguity that situates it at the intersection between exact science and art.”2 In that sense, the map became almost a symbol of the inextricable link between two worlds – science and art – that are all too often presented as radical opposites. Second, in 1987, John Brian Harley and David Woodward published the first volume of their History of Cartography, which marked the kickoff of a huge number of articles and

academic work focusing on maps and what would come to be called critical cartography. It is clear that a series of events took place in the 1980s that marked a turning point in the conception of mapping, both in terms of social perception and in academic research and, most importantly for us, in the relationship between maps and design – all of which justifies limiting the scope of our study to the past 30 years.

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2. Rivière 1980: III.


Cedric Price

Potteries Thinkbelt, 1966 Price: Mobilizing Reality “With lapidary epigrams, skeletal drawings and a polemical genius for mobilising the real against the pretensions of a still surprisingly megalomaniacal profession, [Cedric Price] changed the terrain of architecture.”24 The relevance of Price, a true rara avis ahead of his time, becomes clearer and clearer every day. The ideas Price defended, often with a pointed desire for controversy, maintain not only their relevance in the contemporary debate, but a virulence that seems untempered even after 50 years. Among many other significant innovations, both in architecture’s aims and in the approach to design, Cedric Price stands out for the way he mobilized reality and began fully exploring the operativity of maps in architectural design. In that sense, Price is a pivotal figure, who articulated the initial intuitions and research of the pioneers with the development of operative mapping proper beginning around 1982, which we discussed in the previous pages. From the outset of his career as a designer, Price used maps in a very different way from what their role had been in spatial design disciplines up to that point. Until

Price, maps were nearly always relied on in design to represent or reveal a geographic or formal reality. Even in the case of the Smithsons or Rossi, maps talk about a physical condition (morphology) or a condition of place (topography/ geography). Price began using maps to talk about organizational and time-related aspects, in order to address questions associated with logistics, assembly, activity, use or change. In short, Cedric Price used mapping in both an abstract way – freed from its mimetic-geographic condition – and in an operative way – as a design tool.25 Maps were not used merely to demonstrate certain site conditions; they were harnessed for their diagrammatic nature and their organizational potential. Price’s maps are more directly related to the performative capacity of military maps than the descriptive quality of geographic maps. Beyond recognizing existing conditions, his maps establish protocols for active intervention in the reality that they represent. The main goals of a military map are to document and design an action. Whether the map is made a posteriori to record how the specific events in a war took place, for the purpose of analyzing the causes of a known outcome, or whether the map is generated a priori in order to test out scenarios and establish criteria for military action that will eventually be translated into orders

24. Rem Koolhaas in Price 2003c: 6. Italics are added. 25. Price 2003a: 87.


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Roger Paez Architect, professor and researcher. Architect (ETSAB 1998, Hons.), MS AAD (Columbia University 2000, Honor Award for Excellence in Design), PhD (UPC 2015, Cum Laude). Professional experience in the studios of Alison and Peter Smithson and Enric Miralles. Founder of A i B estudi d’arquitectes (www.aib.cat). Architectural design professor at ETSALS, Research Leader and Director of MEATS at ELISAVA (www. elisava.net | meats.elisava.net), guest professor and lecturer in universities worldwide.


Operative Mapping: Maps as Design Tools Published by Actar Publishers, New York, Barcelona www.actar.com ELISAVA, Barcelona School of Design and Engineering www.elisava.net Author Roger Paez Translation Angela Kay Bunning Graphic Design Ramon Prat Homs Distribution Actar D, Inc. New York, Barcelona New York 440 Park Avenue South, 17th Floor New York, NY 10016, USA T +1 2129662207 salesnewyork@actar-d.com Barcelona Roca i Batlle 2-4 08023 Barcelona, Spain T +34 933 282 183 eurosales@actar-d.com

Indexing English ISBN: 978-1-948765-07-7 PCN: Library of Congress Control Number: 2018946952 Publication date: 2019 All rights reserved © edition: Actar Publishers, ELISAVA, and Roger Paez © texts: Their authors © drawings, illustrations, and photographs: Their authors This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved, on all or part of the material, specifically translation rights, reprinting, re-use of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilm or other media, and storage in databases. For use of any kind, permission of the copyright owner must be obtained. The author, Actar Publishers, and ELISAVA are especially grateful to the image providers in this publication. Every reasonable attempt has been made to identify owners of copyright. Should unintentional mistakes or omissions have occurred, we sincerely apologize and ask for notice. Such mistakes will be corrected in the next edition of this publication. 

Founded in 1961, ELISAVA is the pioneer school in design and engineering teaching in Spain. For more than 50 years we have been committed to an open, flexible and multidisciplinary education and research plan, strongly oriented to the professional world that generates close collaborations with companies, institutions and universities from all over the world. We encourage knowledge, research, development and innovation in all the areas related to design, engineering and communication.


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OPERATIVE MAPPING Maps as Design Tools

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OPERATIVE MAPPING Maps as Design Tools ROGER PAEZ

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Operative Mapping  

Maps as Design Tools | Roger Paez (author) The book’s fundamental aim is to offer a methodological contribution to the design disciplines, b...

Operative Mapping  

Maps as Design Tools | Roger Paez (author) The book’s fundamental aim is to offer a methodological contribution to the design disciplines, b...

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