The transit lounge is the archetypal transit space, the point where the hyper-global + hyper-local coincide; a location which blurs traditional conceptions of geo-political boundaries, creating pockets of international space within the borders of individual nation-states. An in-between space, it exists relative to a fixed departure and arrival point, not to the area that surrounds it.

The Transit Lounge is a series of overlapping residencies for Australian and German artists and architects in Berlin. It is also a blog where themes relating to the project will develop, collaborations will be initiated and sustained, and observations on the city collected. The Transit Lounge invites you to participate in these transnational conversations by commenting on the blog.

For more information email us: transit [AT] transitlounge [DOT] org

The transit lounge is supported by Culturia and the DAZ

Saturday, February 17, 2007

on representation vs. reality

before anything, a short text that inspired me to participate in the Transit Lounge:

"In that Empire, the craft of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a Single Province covered the space of an entire City, and the Map of the Empire itself an entire Province. In the course of Time, these Extensive maps were found somehow wanting, and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point for point. Less attentive to the Study of Cartography, succeeding Generations came to judge a map of such Magnitude cumbersome, and, not without Irreverence, they abandoned it to the Rigors of sun and Rain. In the western Deserts, tattered Fragments of the Map are still to be found, Sheltering an occasional Beast or beggar; in the whole Nation, no other relic is left of the Discipline of Geography."

Jorge Luis Borges, From "Of Exactitude In Science", A Universal History of Infamy.

my thoughts come next.


Katie Hepworth said...

hi isabel,

love this quote. I'm addicted to maps, the nice neat way in which they bring the city together, showing the physical relationships and completly misrepresenting the psychological associations and distances that we have. I come from a city seperated by a harbour and a river. Its only 10minutes across the bridge but it feels like another world. It was only when i moved to the waters edge and began to catch the ferry that zig-zagged across the water that i realised the actual physical proximity of one shore line to another.

Am interested in how mapping has changed over centuries. especially in the old medieval maps with deadly creatures hanging out at the edge of the world. of the maps that represented a cities power relationships rather than physical relationships: the castle in the centre, larger, more prominant than any other item.

these guys do some interesting work on cartography as a political and/or revolutionary act:

isabel cordeiro said...

hi Katie,

I also love Borges fable, that's why I decided to post it on its own.

when I first read it I thought of the promise maps make, and how much we trust them.
I saw it as an analogy to all language, product of architecture discourse (ex: often people buy apartments -the most intimate place one can have- by looking at graphic information like plans, facades, renderings, etc.).
I find this translation between representation and reality very interesting, a sort of in-between stage where expectations can be completely fulfilled or completely frustrated.

in relation to maps, it's interesting that you mention your experience in a city where short distances can provide you with different experiences.
I live in Amsterdam already for a while, here everything is mostly on a walking/biking distance, but I still get lost very often. walking through the city you mainly see cute canals, cute bridges and cute four levels brick houses. I miss reference points, variation, etc.
also interesting is the fact that the map of Amsterdam is one of the most easy to recognize (at least from European cities) with its concentric structure, everybody immediately recognizes the place, but then when you really inhabit the city you see that the clarity of the map doesn’t necessarily provide you with easy circulation.

in Berlin’s case the most interesting, for me, is the layering of political agendas throughout time, and how these plans are present in the city. Berlin was planned to be so many different things...

Katie Hepworth said...

My heads filled with the construction of abstract forests with no room for maps, but in the meantime i found you this link that you might like...