Map Library and Research Center _ Meades Ranch Triangulation Station, Kansas
Technology preferences the model over its manifestation. With increasingly technical means of processing, our obsession with precision has found its endless outlet. But what of accuracy? We either care little, or the object of reference has long ago disappeared.
In reconsidering Borges’ map of the Empire, Baudrillard writes that “the territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it.” The recent emergence of projection mapping as a psychospatial operation promotes models whose subjects are wholly divorced from their substrates. Computational processing has introduced praxes of automation to the discipline, creating a widening schism between the content of study and its physical progenitor.
To project is to throw something forth. It says nothing of that onto which it is cast.
Early geographic accounting instrumentalized projection as a geometric operation. Cartography became the process of transcribing physical territory into legible representations. Recently, greater levels of abstraction in mapping have contributed to a detachment from its content rather than a deeper understanding. In this project, architecture performs the role of a ballast. It is meant to ground the practice of cartography in its historic context and reassert its connection to physical phenomena. It amplifies the moments of dissonance between terrestrial datums and spatial experience. When leveraged for its faculties of representation, architecture reveals the projective nature of highly technical pursuits, namely new forms of mapping. Their irresistible inclinations - those which crave precision, quantifiable rationale, and certainty - have become a cognitive filter through which we decipher and project meaning. Consequently, the physicality of that which we assign meaning is increasingly placed in questionable territory.