15 June 2012

Book du jour - roadmap

Turn the page and you see that the Irish Sea off Wales has chunks missing
Just a bit of fun with a road atlas - taking the route numbers off the roads, to make the map less useful for drivers. The "touristy bits" - names of historic houses etc - were removed too. (Theoretical link: Tim Ingold's "Lines" book - he talks about nomadic mapping being about wandering over a recognisable area, whereas maps in industrialised societies are about having directions for getting from place to place.)

This map is meant to become less useful, indeed less interesting, with each level of removal. Taking out the names of towns and villages is the next logical step, but apart from the indications of settlement would there be anything left? Even the roads would be cut through. (Try it on a less populated area...)

Perhaps what needs removing next is the names of towns that would be on signposts on the major roads. Which sets me thinking about those lovely old signposts with lovely old village names...

I chose that page in the old road atlas (1980s?) because it's the area covered by WG Sebald's "Rings of Saturn". Coming at that book from the literature end of things, this blogger has plotted the area with googlemaps -
That's obviously a very different project than my dabblings with the scalpel - a much more interesting project.

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