Freitag, 7. November 2008

curious worlds

Building on a recent post, these maps are evidence of our fascination with plotting, controlling, simplifying river systems. By unfolding it and placing it alongside others, the river becomes an abstract entity, devoid of any feature or context. Imagine a world where all rivers drained from a single land mass, and ran perfectly parallel to each other into a single body of water. The world would have to be cylindrical. Water would pour off the bottom edge and be transported back, like a charged spool, to the top edge, where it would settle on the highest mountains before flowing down again. Valleys would form like notches in the cylinder, each an enclosed cosmos. Life would be far more unstable, vulnerable to isolation and sporadic colonisation. Initially a barcode of mono cultures, it would homogonise relatively quickly, lacking the geographic complexity to sustain diversity.

It reminds me of the tube maps printed along the length of an undergound carriage. Indeed, besides fulfilling our desire to measure, list and rank everything we can, the only purpose these maps can serve is navigational. Presumably an unintentional side-effect, but useful never the less. Navigational maps always focus on the transversable element, projecting routes and points on to otherwise empty terrain, cutting into solid mass. The map below is easy to picture in inverse, thanks to all the points being restricted to the coast line.

What if suddenly our planet was inverted, if all topography flattened to sea level, before bulging the same distance in the other direction. Gaia's mighty spasm, an Atlantis of global proportions.

Instructions for globus tabula rasa.
1. Place World into Photoshop
2. Reverse topographical filters
3. Marvel at ensuing mayhem

Finally, this map reminds me of the worlds I used to draw as a child, cramming as much geographical extremism on as possible, without necessarily linking it together to form a geological pattern. Map drawing fancy, random world making, Tolkienism.

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