James Corner, The Agency of Mapping

James Corner presents an interesting predicament when it comes to mapping's ability to navigate space, time and relationships. When he first discusses Borges' and Boudrillard's paradoxes of mapping's accuracy as attempting to be so accurate that they come either directly mimic, or attempt to map so accurately that they come to replace reality, this provokes the fallacy of mapping as pure and empirical data. However when Corner discusses this in relation to time and the 1:1 mapping of information which is not as static as geography or the physicality of the built world, things become more complicated.

To imagine for a second the paradox of Borges' 1:1 scale map of the earth as it applies to time, the paradox is heightened. Either we become the dots and lines (information) of the map, as we move about on its surface completing the data through our connections in real time, in essence walking over layers of our own constructs, suggesting that we in fact are in a projection, as the Borges's map becomes the vehicle of our own simulation, or mapping's fundamental inability to represent time and space in any type of accuracy reflects mappings true use, which is as an investigation into automatic pasts as a projection of the future.

A map as a way of understanding what is, informs the way a future city is built (for example) and so as a tool of analysis of the past, so becomes a future projection, and once built, a 1:1 map which controls to some extent the human relationships which happen on its literal surface.

As we integrate more and more real time information gathering and synthesis systems into our city planning, as well as more real-time response automated urban mechanisms for managing them (Control Syntax Rio, Columbia GSAPP, Farzin Lotfi-Jam) our movement across these phyisical systems of maps, closes the feedback loops of time and space, which pushes our cities closer and closer to a real time projection's fusion with the mapping itself.

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