Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Poetics of Cartography

I finally got around to listening to "This American Life" on mapping. Seems like someone mentioned the program when it aired last month (I remember looking at the accompanying images in Flickr). The program, a replay of the broadcast from 1998, covers mapping across the five senses, beginning with Denis Woods on sight and his neighborhood maps that take into account things like how often addresses (or names of residents) occur in a neighborhood newsletter and how the geolocations of jack-o-lanterns (photographed and layered onto a black background) correspond to the places references in the newsletter. He describes this fascination as a "poetics of cartography" and proposes that there isn't anything that can't be mapped. Brief thought it is, Woods opening piece gave me a boost for thinking about chapter five in the diss, even if I'm still two or three months from drafting the chapter on mapping. Hearing him talk about his mapping practices made me want to drop everything I'm doing (right now, on tag clouds) and re-read The Power of Maps.

The rest of the show is worth a listen, but I didn't find the later sections to be as impressive as Woods' bit. There's a piece on mapping soundscapes (not far off some of the things Jenny has discussed re: documentary, although this guy finds musical notes in the drone of his microwave and CPU cooling fan), and there are also short segments on mapping with smell and touch--both of which reminded me of conversations in the cybercartography seminar I took two years ago.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at November 14, 2007 10:05 PM to Rhetorico-Geography
Comments

That episide is a surpring letdown. But the Woods bit is good.

Posted by: jenny at November 15, 2007 7:15 PM

Agreed. Seems like they should have put together a new show rather than re-airing this one last month (considering it's nine years old). Has the mechanical nose advanced in the last nine years? I don't know. And is the soundscapes person still hearing B-flat notes in his air conditioning unit? Time for them to update.

Posted by: Derek at November 15, 2007 11:13 PM