Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Even-Scale Series (Notes)

Even-scale is a principle I’ve been developing for use in cartographic art pieces. It began in thoughts about how visual information is usually structured in maps, diagrams, graphs, and other instrumentalist visual arts. Customarily the presentation of any given source data is determined by the supposed legibility of that data to its imagined future “readers.” By contrast, in even-scale the objective is to establish an experiential and/or bodily connection between the mapmaker and the data. The assumption is that a new kind of legibility, directly emblematic of the phenomena, will continue to be perceptible, if only as a by-product.

In practice, the mapmaker tries to find some technique to directly experience the scale of people or quantities being represented. A physical mark made by the mapmaker might represent time, dollars, distance, people, or deaths. Other kinds of alignments are out there to be invented. The ideal is a one-to-one equivalence of some kind, but realistically any equivalence (10 to one, 100 to one) is a sufficient gesture towards even-scale.

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