Map, Map, Territory

What if Borges’ (or, more properly, Alfred Korzybski’s) map/territory
contrast is just an overplayed maxim, a dwindling truism due for reversal?
(Fine, so I’m not the


to consider the question.)

The aggregator turned up

a report
about laws in the Philippines and Malaysia that ban what is being called
"participatory GIS", the ad hoc mash-up efforts combining cartography
technologies with material models in an effort to define boundaries for lands
held by indigenous groups. The ban on such processes is, in itself,
fascinating (a way to keep the partitioning of the land specialized, in the
hands of experts). But
I’m also struck by the layers to this story, a coordination of compositional and
rhetorical elements–mental models of spaces, the image-assisted translation of
mental models into scaled relief maps made of various materials, the use of these
constructs for legal claim-making, the implied omnipotence of Google Earth.

From the report, the moment of reconciliation between satellite imagery and
the experiences and memories of the person and tribe (map as totemic?):

The modeling technique often starts by showing village elders satellite
images, which they use to record their mental maps of tribal territories,
hunting grounds, and sacred sites.

The material manifestation–something like a folk geodiorama or raised relief map–blends the
latest digital technologies with everyday craft supplies:

[A]ctivist groups…have been helping indigenous communities mix
computers and handheld navigation devices with paints, yarn, and cardboard
to make simple but accurate three-dimensional terrain models.

Simple but accurate? Accurate enough to warrant a ban, anyway.

Clouds, Graphs, Maps

A couple of days ago Mike posted notes on

CCCC talk
from late last month, and I was reminded that I’m at least ten days
past due on the video
I said I would
following the conference.

I recorded the talk to an mp3 yesterday afternoon and went to
campus last night where I planned to use iMovie to sync the audio with jpegs of
the slides. Because the slideshow includes text, I needed to get the
resolution right, but, well, it started to get late. I started to get impatient.
I was able to output a reasonably readable mp4 file, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t get
Google Video or
Daily Motion to encode it.
Finally Jumpcut accepted the file, so it’s
available below the fold (even if much of it suffers from jaggies). The original mp4 is available for download

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Did Bitzer Draw?

Did Lloyd Bitzer ever draw his situational model? Or are all of the
visually rendered triangles drawn from his textual account?

If he didn’t draw it (I can’t find evidence that he did), are responses to
the model’s viability fueled instead by its proliferation as an abstraction
pulled (like a rabbit from a hat) out of Bitzer’s textual account? How did the
textual model evolve into a disciplinary fixture, a visual commonplace?
How was it translated from text to geometric figure? Should we enjoy free license
to convert anything with three points into a triangle?

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C’mon, Pokey

I finally got around to reading Lindsay Waters’ CHE diatribe against
Moretti’s work on abstract models and literary studies. I know, it took me
long enough. Collin
the article, titled

"Time For Reading,"
almost two weeks ago, and The Valve‘s Bill Benzon

his thoughts
on Waters last Tuesday. Rather than sum up the other
entries here, I’ll put the links in place and move along to a couple of my

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