Stuff of dreams then mingles with the challenge of reality …

In his interesting text on mapping, as the most common form of visualization of data, Brian Holmes distinguishes the need for location i.e. orientation as a helpful tool to extand our perception. In his comparison between psychophysical (cognitive individual oriented)as …

a purely functional nervous system staring into its cartographic mirror. Whereas recent history, since the massification of access to the Internet, tends to show that the aesthetics of cognitive mapping only becomes effective, only opens up a public inquiry about the ways the globalization process can be conceived and embodied by its subjects, when it actually transits through the “great global multinational and decentered communicational network” in which we are individually and collectively caught – both as moving targets and as potential actors

.. and semiotic (towards a reading of communicative knowledge exchange) oriented approach translating the carthographer’s world into a symbolic code or language ….

At issue here is the classic problem of semiotic theory: an awareness of the gap between the way that an emitter’s perception of reality is encoded according to specific rules, leaving the result to be decoded by a receiver. (5) This gap points to the possibility of a critical debate over the both the language and the specific content of maps, which clearly help to shape the worlds they represent. Yet there is something else here too, something considerably more ambiguous: at the top of the diagram, within the larger circle of reality as such, we find not a gap, but an area of partial overlap between the map-maker’s reality and that of the map user.

.. to invent finally the social imaginary as a shared zone of mental images, which creates the possibility to transform collective representations.

And the communicational diagram of map-making shows this possibility as well, to the extent that the maker and the user’s subjective realities only partially overlap, allowing for disjunction and difference to enter the circuit. The emergence through dissensus of new images, of new maps within the communications loop, corresponds to the radical or “instituting” aspect of the social imaginary, its creative capacity, its power to transform collective representations or “mental maps” – and ultimately, to redesign the real.
.. more

see also: The map is not the territory:
(..Always, the process of representation will filter it out so that the mental world is only maps of maps, ad infinitum ..)

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