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territorial networks: mapping the enormous a thesis proposal by dorothy schwankl


territorial networks: mapping the enormous

a thesis proposal by dorothy schwankl


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abstract concept definitions circumstance technique program precedents timeline index citations


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abstract


Vectors allow for movement only along a specific path while nodes describe points of activity or transfer. By mapping a vector site, like the stretch of highway between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, a path through the enormous can be understood. Through the vivification of concepts of constant arrival and the elongated present, an individual’s relationship to the shifting landscape is foregrounded. In contrast to this, a node site is bounded, defined, and static. Within a node site, the qualities of the network and vector can be activated by combining infrastructural network logic with discrete mapped moments. Through a synthesis of three programs that vary in their connection to the territory and network, adjacencies arise between disparate programmatic identities.

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concept


This is a project of translation and constructed adjacencies that forefront the concepts of elongated present, constant arrival, and the enormous.

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Maps are created and read according to an established set of cartographic rules. These conventions grant authority to documents that are intrinsically biased and abbreviated versions of an actual physical space or landscape. By imposing a regularized system of representation, the map itself becomes a version of reality that is detached from real. Representation of velocity, the ephemeral, and the enormous is not possible within the traditional mode of mapping, where vectors connect nodes and territories are defined as shaded regions. The shutter speed of mapping can be shortened such that other qualities can be read, but the interconnected nature of networks cannot be fully represented using the language of terrain. The highway system in America was designed to move people and goods efficiently and independently of others. Interchanges were conceived to allow for almost constant velocity when switching from one vector path to another. The design of the highway reinforces the enormous aspect of the desert landscape between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. This particular car trip is devoid of a continuous urban fabric to pass by; rather the view is primarily of the relentlessly monotonous ground of the Mojave Desert—devoid of distinguishable geological, natural, and even cultural landmarks at highway speed. A continuous nowhere, the road becomes the only object in the landscape. The whole trip is part of the concept of “elongated present� in that the enormous creates a period of time that is simultaneously both long and short. Long because it takes a measurable amount of time to traverse the 265 miles. Short because the landscape is so monotonous at highway speed that there is nothing memorable to see. The driver is in a state of constant arrival to the same destination repeatedly and this view is mediated and controlled by the imposed view angle of the vehicle and speed of motion.

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By mapping this particular stretch of highway, certain latent conditions become the focus. An attempt to map the qualities, not just landmarks, of the landscape results in a biased representation of a real place and period of time spent along the vector site. The node site is detached from the vector in location, but brings qualities of the network logic and dromoscopy to a programmed, built form. The habitation of the building is determined by forcing adjacencies between programs that are typically disparate. The combination of stand-alone programs is done using the moments that are vivified during the mapping process. The vector is linked to the node, but not through site or program, rather something entirely different.

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definitions


constant arrival a state of receiving information in which it is instantaneously delivered, rendering departure obsolete see Paul Virilio 1

elongated present the stretching of the here and now, made possible by comparison to the speeds of other entities see Jean Baudrillard 2

the enormous visually infinite and of a monotonous character see Paul Virilio 3

ephemeral that which is fleeting, shifting at a fast speed

infrastructure the physical structure of networks

landscape the horizontal plane

loudness visual or physical noise that typically distracts from a situation or potentially creates one

mapping the process of capturing features and their geographic relationship to one another at a specific moment in time

node a point at which vectors converge, a point of activity or transfer

resolution the complexity of an image, correlating with viewing scale or speed

spectacle an entity that attracts attention for only a short amount of time see Guy Debord 4

vector a line of continuous character with two nodes as its endpoints

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vectors the enormous

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circumstance


known knowns

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The vector site is elastic—has variable speed, users, and/or paths. The vector site is conventionally defined by its endpoints. The vector site is intertwined with multiple infrastructural networks. Las Vegas, Nevada to Los Angeles, California. by car: 265 miles. 4 hours 23 minutes. (up to 6 hours 10 minutes in traffic)5 This particular car trip is devoid of a continuous urban fabric to pass by; rather the view is of the relentlessly monotonous ground of the Mojave Desert—devoid of distinguishable geological, natural, and even cultural landmarks. A continuous nowhere, the road becomes the only object in the landscape. As such, the trip becomes the event. The anticipation of reaching the destination is the propelling force pushes you to get there faster, quicker, sooner. While most car trips involve a series of directions at major landmarks, (highway interchanges, large cities, monuments, etc) this trip involves 223 solid miles of I-15. This trip is entirely the empty space between landmarks—there are no intermediary nodes. This makes the line a singular connection between the two nodes. The line is not about experience, it is a means to an end. In Las Vegas and Los Angeles, spectacle and destination are collapsed into a single entity. Whether traveling in one direction or the other, both endpoints are cities of brightness. The initial burst of light cannot be sustained because it is generated by the contrast from the desert. Speed on this jaunt is determined by posted highway speeds, the smoothness of the road, and the lack of traffic. All of these factors are related to the road itself, not the landscape. The speed of the road is independent from the speed of the landscape.

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the enormous elongated present

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In the enormous and monotonous landscape of the I-15 between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the loudness of the landscape comes into question. Billboards, painted truck trailers, and other advertisements do not compete with the natural landscape, but each other for attention. The barrage of advertisement results in a version of compassion fatigue. 6 The same choices on repeat for the entire vector combine to create an extreme nowhere. It does not matter whether or not you stop for a taco at any particular exit because you will have six more opportunities to eat that same exact taco. A mass-produced taco is still the same taco regardless of location. A taco is a taco is a taco. Programmed elements along vectors are intended for passersby and are not destinations. These non-places include: toll booths, truck stops, scenic overlooks, border crossings, and agricultural checkpoints. (Along other vector sites the non-places could include airports, distribution centers, free trade zones, customs processing facilities, and quarantine facilities.) They might evoke characteristics of spectacle, but are actually a flattened, commercialized version that is simply an advertisement. These programmatic elements have specific intended user groups and associated speeds. The duration of use is meant to be very short. The brevity of the stop reinforces the focus on the destination, rather than the vector. The quicker you can stop and eat dinner along the way the sooner you arrive at your destination. Programmed elements specifically for passersby function in relation to the speed at which the user is moving. They require a certain period of time for slowing down, a time of complete stop, and then a time for speeding back up. This transient constituency demands an efficiency of travel that extends beyond the infrastructure to the stops along the way. Speed and ease of access are assigned high value. While these stops punctuate the trip, they are not about specific local territories, but belong to the network of the highway. Their access, character, and function are all completely related to and in service of the highway. The stops are all part of the elongated present of the trip.

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vectors the enormous

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known unknowns

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What agreements do you enter into when joining a network? Not just posted rules on signage, but what spatial, social, and cultural normative systems do you conform to? Rather than a connecting path, what if the car trip for Las Vegas to Los Angeles was defined as a corridor of space that correlates to a specific time? Without incident, your individual car is occupying a specific zone of space for the duration of the expedition. If architecture is conceived as a backdrop, like Bernard Tschumi proposes, does it fall further back or move forward when it is only experienced for a short amount of time?7 When architecture is inserted in a monotonous landscape along a vector does it stand out, or does it get absorbed into the enormous? How does the efficiency of highway interchanges translate into stops? What if “stopping� does not actually involve coming to a complete stop? Keller Easterling writes about the Bel Geddes Interchange featured in the 1939 Futurama exhibit that extended the cloverleaf radius from 75 8 to 1000 feet to allow for looping without changing speed. What would be the effect of an even smaller radius? What if intentional slowdowns were introduced into the speed efficiency of the highway?

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node

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known knowns The node site is static. The node site is conventionally defined by its borders. The node site is intertwined with multiple infrastructural networks, but functions as a endpoint for their services. While the vector site is about efficient movement along a path, the node site is about intentionally slowing speed down. It is a destination for a specific constituency of people and objects. Therefore it is chosen, designed, and constructed to meet particular needs. It has clear boundaries and does extend infinitely. It occupies and serves a specific territory.

known unknowns How does the node site interact with the vector site? How can the enormous appear within a bounded space?

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the continuous cloverleaf By never merging into traffic when entering from a cloverleaf, a driver can exit again, and continuously inhabit the ramps, not the highway.


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the non-exit A situation where the highway exit ramp infrastructure was constructed, but the local infrastructure only exists as a dirt path.


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constant exit A situation where exits are always available such that the limited access notion of the highway is dissolved.


loudness vectors resolution

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technique


known knowns

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Projects designed for transient users require a method of representation that transcends static depictions of space, occupation, and circulation. Representation is inherently subjective. Activity and movement are inherently noisy and in representing it this noise is either lessened or amplified to achieve a certain effect. The exploded axonometric drawing is about the vector, not the node. Rather than the collapsing of elements into an object, it is about a series of vectors that lead to a nodal solution. It does not represent the finality of the object, but the series of actions that lead to a specific condition. It is about the process. Traditional modes of mapping capture a singular perspective and moment in time. In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, the geographer says in response to a question of recording flowers, that 9 “We do not record them. . . because they are ephemeral." One could claim (and the Little Prince makes a similar point about volcanoes) that everything moves, just at different rates of speed. As such, the mapping of the ephemeral—whether it be flowers or traffic, requires a faster shutter speed. Even fast movement can be captured if the frame of reference correlates with the velocity. Traditional cartographic practices assume a very slow shutter speed for the features that are mapped. This also correlates to the medium—the historic permanence and longevity of printed maps. When movement is flattened into a drawing it is slowed down to the rate of viewing of the image. Therefore at least two shifts in speed have been made to represent the initial event. The actual event, the recording of it, the drawing of it, and the viewing of the created image are all independent actions.

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vectors resolution

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known unknowns In drawing, how can processes be represented not as a specific series of ordered events (like furniture assembly instructions) but as a series of possibilities? How can the physicality of drawings relate to the topography, in terms of both physical landforms and cultural practices, of a place? Can a drawing have distinguishable character that relates to a specific location? When examining a site that is a vector, rather than a node, how is the edge of the page treated? While maps have very distinct boundaries, how can drawings bleed out of paper space?

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landscape mapping

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spectacle: defining moments

constant arrival: dromoscopy and windshield frame

vector and node: infinite vectors

constant arrival: dromoscopy and visual extents

constant arrival: taco exits

vector and node: converted to a series nodes

vector and node: the path

the ephemeral: flowers

conventions of mapping: graphic symbols

conventions of mapping: grid square A1

conventions of mapping: grid and graphic scale


spectacle node

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program


known knowns

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Program describes an intentional user group and activity that functions as a part of the territory it influences and the network it connects to. Programs of territory function as nodes. They have specific functions that are about creating a veritable experience as part of delivering a good or service. It is of a specific place and enrolls a particular audience that exists there. The program serves as an attractor point for a larger network, but is more importantly a sited set of activities for a particular constituency.

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the enormous vector

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Programs of network function as vectors. It does not produce finality of transactions, but merely a gathering of objects or information. It has a clearly defined input and output network and its location is determined by these networks, not by local conditions. Its human constituency is there to facilitate the movement of goods or services. It is about efficient transfers, not experiences. Some programs are more aligned with one mode of function or the other, but ultimately function in both ways. By deploying multiple programs simultaneously in one building, the intent is not to polarize the functions, but rather to vivify the adjacencies, alignments, and mingling of territory and network connectivity. This alludes to the concepts of constant arrival, elongated present, and the enormous that exist in the vector site of the drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. These effects that arise from the monotonous landscape and the location along a vector become visible in a node site through program that is of a network.

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call center

museum

self-storage

call center

distribution center

self-storage

restaurant

distribution center

network

territory

restaurant


five potential programs 39

call center Since the function of a call center is based on information, the data network infrastructure is more important than physical location. Pulling from an orbiting satellite, not local resources, the call center is a program primarily of the network.

distribution center While occupying a rather large physical footprint, the distribution center has little influence on territorial experience. Its location is determined by efficiency within the network and availability of resources—transit networks, low property values, and cheap labor. It is a collector point along a vector to combine objects and send them in a new direction in a different combination or quantity.

museum Intended to provide a visual experience for visitors, the museum is primarily of a territory. The objects contained in the museum represent a global network of acquisition and curation.

restaurant A program of experience specifically based on a territory, the restaurant does more than deliver food to its constituency. While the food potentially does not originate from the surrounding region, the place becomes a destination based on the authentic event of eating there.

self storage Individual self-contained storage units as physical spaces are of a local territory. The spaces are ubiquitous and universal, but the need for them is determined by local patterns of material consumption and hoarding. The objects inside the units are part of a larger network of material supply and demand such that the units exist as collectors for excess.


ant arrival vectors ution

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precedents


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project: Slow House

Diller+Scofidio New Haven, NY 1991 (unbuilt)

The weekend house is conceived as a passage from physical entry to optical departure or, simply, a door to a window. . . The composite view formed by the screen in front of the picture window is always out of register, collapsing the opposition between the authentic and mediated. 10 This project engages the disconnect between perceived and real by creating a device for highlighting the gap. It calls into question movement along a vector, readable speed, and discontinuities between site and place.


mapping

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subject: grid square A1 Setting up the locative system for an entire landscape, grid square A1 is standardized means of demarcating the beginning of a drawing. It assumes that there is a beginning to the object being mapped. Also inherent in this is the accepted norm of starting in the top left corner of the sheet and continuing to the right and down. Included in the concept of square A1 is an assumption that all subsequent squares will be of the same dimensional character. This means that a regularized organizational system is imposed onto something that is not inherently orthogonal, flat, limited, or confined. A1 is the beginning of an organizational structure that is detached from the reality of the object and belongs entirely to the map.

see A-1 Rental: first in the phone book based on alphabetical hierarchy. A-1 (a.k.a. “KS 150”): a heavy water gas cooled nuclear reactor in Jaslovské Bohunice, Czechoslovakia that was only operational from 1972-1979, after a INES-4 classification accident in 1977. Plans to build the second reactor block “A-2” were cancelled after the 11 accident. A1 paper size: 594mm x 841mm as designated by ISO 216. The Jeffersonian grid: an absolute grid imposed on the land of the United States in the Land Ordinance of 1785.

known unknowns What factors determine the extents of a map? Is the area of interest centered or is a prescribed scale used to define the scope?

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loudnnnes loudness esss reso resolution

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object: The Scale Figure The scale figure implies a scale and an occupation for spaces that only exist in theoretical form. They are an attempt to relate a twodimensional or three-dimensional object to a real space by way of the human form. Scale figures bring a representation of occupation and human interaction with space into the realm of drawing and models. They identify the orientation of a drawing by showing how it relates to a typical human.

known unknowns What does a generic six-foot-tall scale figure object have to do with actual occupation of a space by humans? What is the difference between showing the average dimensions of a human on a drawing and a human silhouette? Should the actual intended occupant of the building be shown in drawings? Is the scale figure as idealized as the space is?

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vectors nodes

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subject: the OSNAP command (F3) A digital imposition of the alignment of objects, the object snap command replaces the hand-drawn visual cues of alignment with infinitely scalable precision of absolute alignment. It defines endpoints, midpoints, and centers as nodes of importance; encouraging a preference for perpendicularity, alignment, and regularization. see ORTHO (F8): An AutoCad command that locks drawing into the cardinal directions. “Oh snap�: A phrase that seconds the taunting, comeback, and/or verbal abuse of 12 another person.

known unknowns How has the ease of computer-aided drafting (and also modeling) changed the geometry of designed objects? Has it made objects simpler and/or opened up the possibility of more complex geometries? Is a line actually about the endpoints, or about the connecting construction? Is a circle defining a center point, a radius distance, or an enclosed space? In hand-drafting a system of construction, lines are setup and points along those lines are defined and then connected by lines that potentially continue past them. What are the design implications of using segments rather than vectors?

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elongated present resolution

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image: Shutter Speed Jacques-Henri Lartigue “Car Trip, Papa at 80 kilometers an hour” (1913)

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mapping ephemeral

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mapping: Mutation Sites

Sarah Trigg gouache on paper mounted on panels (2003)

...Inspired by reconnaissance images from the Cuban Missile Crisis, which indicated a grave prognosis for the political “body� of the modern age. She studied current satellite imagery13 for signs of malignant sociopolitical activity.

Mapping the ephemeral can be done in a graphic way such that the elapsed time period being shown is immediately understood.


infrastructure mapping ephemeral

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mapping: Trajectory 1

Val Britton monoprint, collage, graphite, and ink on paper (2010)

I make immersive collaged drawings that draw on the language of maps. The impetus for this body of work was my longing to connect to my father, a truck driver who drove eighteen-wheelers across the country hauling industrial machinery. He died over ten years ago. Based on road maps of the U.S., routes my father often traveled, and an invented conglomeration, mutation, and fragmentation of those passageways, my works on paper help me piece together the past and make up the parts I cannot know. 14

Mappings that are admittedly about experience, not actual spaces or places, have the ability to take on a new spatial language. They are still of the landscape, but can transcend the disciplinary constraints of cartography.


text precedents


mapping infrastructure

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Stan Allen, Point + Lines: Diagrams And Projects For The City (1999)

Infrastructures are flexible and anticipatory. They work with time and are open to change. By specifying what must be fixed and what is subject to change, they can precise and indeterminate at the same time. They work through management and cultivation, changing slowly to adjust to shifting conditions. They do not progress toward a predetermined state (as with master planning strategies), but are always evolving within a loose envelope of constraint. 15

While program and site provide a framework for building activities and interactions, the actual life of the building is indeterminable. With the proposed idea of programmatic combinations, instead of designing for specific conditions the aim is construct a system of fixed elements that would provide this “loose envelope of constraint� that Stan Allen hypothesizes.


node infrastructure elongated present

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William Mitchell, Me++: The Cyborg Self And The Networked City (2004)

The discontinuities produced by networks result from the drive for efficiency, safety, and security. Engineers want to limit the number of access points and provide fast, uninterrupted transfers among these points. So you can drink from a stream anywhere along its length, but you can only access piped water at a faucet. You can pause wherever you want when you’re strolling along a dirt track, but you must use the stations for trains, entry and exit ramps for freeways, and airports for airline networks—and your experience of the terrain between these points is very limited. You experience the architectural transitions between floors of a building when you climb the stairs, but you go into architectural limbo between opening and closing of the doors when you use the elevator. 16

The nodal nature of access points was driven by efficiency and creates an elongated present when the vector is only experienced during the “architectural limbo” that Mitchell describes. When the vector is the subject, the stark contrast between it and the nodes is apparent. The elongated present is created by the preference for nodes.


vectors resolution mapping

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J.J. King “The Node Knows” in Janet Abrams+Peter Hall, Else/Where: Mapping New Cartographies Of Networks And Territories (2006)

Today, things that are symbolically related are brought into network proximity that can mitigate or redeem physical distance. This doesn’t mean the end of geography, but rather its re-emergence in a new form, centered on the instructions, interactions, and connections that order global capital across national boundaries—a world reformatted along the lay lines of financial fl17ow...a sort of ‘cartography after information’

Mapping is no longer an inert representational strategy for slow-moving objects because it can also be used to describe complex global networks of interaction. Maps transcend the boundaries of their status as objects in order to chart non-physical conditions.


infrastructure constant arrival

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Scott Page And Brian Phillips, “By Design: Editing The City” in 30-60-90: 06 Shifting Infrastructures (2004)

Nearly every piece of the city, old and new, from downtown blocks to the sprawling horizontal boxes of the suburbs are wired together by a mesh of sidewalks, highways, rail lines, fiber runs, and cell phone towers. The pulse of the metropolis is animated by innumerable, simultaneous electronic connections that link local environments an infinite number of other environments, creating an ambient urbanism. In a perpetual state of flux, its networked infrastructure expands and contracts in tandem with new and/or improved modes of circulating people, goods, and information along those networks. The new city is characterized by creating dynamics related to control, mobility, and context. 18

It impossible to disconnect from all these infrastructural networks and simultaneously impossible to document their reach because they are constantly shifting to accommodate users. Much like the impossibility of mapping the ephemeral using cartographic techniques, this “ambient urbanism” can be located at nodes, but the overall effect cannot be quantified.


loudness mapping

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Denis Cosgrove, Geography and Vision: Seeing, Imagining, and Representing the World (2008)

The map represents merely one stage. To understand the contents, meaning, and significance of any map requires that it be reinserted into the social, historical, and technical contexts and processes from which it emerges and upon which it acts. This involves examining the map not only as a discrete object, but as the outcome of specific technical and social processes and the generator of future social processes as it19 enters and circulates in the social world.

A map is an object in itself and has projective cultural power that is quite possibly more cogent than the condition being mapped. Situating the map in its context vivifies the biases that are present in the representation of conditions.


the enormous spectacle

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Mitchell Schwarzer, Zoomscape: Architecture in Motion and Media (2004)

Photography displaces architecture from the context of its physical site to the context of its media presentation—for example, to a book or gallery. Most buildings are perceived not in their real space, but amid other spaces. . . Somewhat like the aerial view, photographic perception of architecture ranges far and wide beyond any particular place or building, branching into diverse networks. 20 Cartographic projection and photographic perception both convey a specific point of view that prioritizes certain effects by selectively cropping out other information. Like photography, mapping creates a fictitious knowledge of a place that is not based on personal experience, but rather assumed truth. These forms of translation also have the ability to suppress the actual enormous by connecting visually to this “diverse network� of association instead. Perception replaces fact in a world where connectivity is more important than truth.


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timeline january

february

march

april


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translating the rules and maps into a defined spatial object

drawing correlations between resolution and speed through collage mapping program adjacencies and conflicts

constructing a set of rules for spatial efficiency

identifying the important moments in the maps mapping in specific detail the node site mapping in specific detail the vector site


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index elongated present 13 49 59

constant arrival

41 63

the enormous 11 13 15 37 67

ephemeral 51 53

spectacle 35 67

landscape 29


vector 11 15 25 27 37 41 47 61

infrastructure

53 57 59 63

node

17 35 47 59

mapping 29 43 51 53 57 61 65

loudness 25 45 65

resolution 25 27 41 45 49 61


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citations


1 Virilio, Paul “The Overexposed City” In Leach, Neil (ed.), Rethinking Architecture: A Reader In Cultural Theory (pp. 381-90). London: Routledge.1997. p. 385. 2 Baudrillard, Jean. The System of Objects. London: Verso, 1996. p. 162. 3 Virilio, Paul. The Original Accident. Cambridge: Polity, 2007. p. 31. 4 Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. London: Rebel Press, 2004. 5 Google Maps directions from “Las Vegas, Nevada” to “Los Angeles, California” http://maps.google.com/ accessed September 27, 2010. 6 Ulmer, Gregory L.. Electronic Monuments. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005. p. xxix. 7 Tschumi, Bernard. Architecture And Disjunction. 1st MIT Press paperback ed. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996. p. 149. 8 Easterling, Keller. Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways, And Houses In America. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1999. p. 103. 9 Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de, and Richard Howard. The Little Prince. San Diego: Harcourt, 2000. p. 46. 10 Diller Scofidio and Renfro website: http://www.dsrny.com/ accessed November 10, 2010. 11 “The state stopped nuclear plant re-launch” http://www.cas.sk/clanok/103036/stat-stopolopatovne-spustenie-jaslovskych-bohunic.html accessed September 23, 2010 12 “Oh Snap” in Urban Dictionary: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=oh%20 snap! accessed September 20, 2010. 13 Harmon, Katharine A., and Gayle Clemans. The Map As Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2009. p. 27. 14 The Work Of Val Britton http://www.valbritton.com/ accessed November 20, 2010 15 Allen, Stan. Points + Lines: Diagrams And Projects for the City. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. p. 55. 16 Mitchell, William J. Me++: the Cyborg Self And the Networked City. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003. p. 15. 17 King, J.J. “ The Node Knows” in Abrams, Janet and Hall, Peter. (editors) Else/where: Mapping New Cartographies of Networks And Territories. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Design Institute, 2006. p. 47. 18 Page, Scott and Phillips, Brian “By Design: Editing the City” in 30-60-90: 06 Shifting Infrastructures (March 2004) p. 86. 19 Cosgrove, Denis E. Geography And Vision: Seeing, Imagining And Representing the World. London: I.B. Tauris , 2008. p. 156. 20 Schwarzer, Mitchell. Zoomscape: Architecture In Motion And Media. New York, N.Y.: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004. p. 166.


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territorial networks: mapping the enormous