|Peter Greenaway: A Walk Through H: Cross Route, 1976-78|
|Adam Dant: Shoreditch as Globe, 1999|
These days, an intersection is the place where my daughter, who has recently taken on the navigational duties during our walkabouts, has to make a decision. Left, right or forward? South, north or west? To determine which way, she has to consider things like: Which way is the quickest route downtown? Which way has the most shade or the most interesting houses and gardens for us to look at? Where do the outside cats live so we can say hi to them?
Here's an intersection we recently passed through:
You can also find intersections on maps -- they're full of them. My daughter loves maps. Me? I will use a map, but only half-heartedly. I am barely patient for that time when I will just know the route and can leave the paper behind. I want to be free to pay attention to other things (like traffic!) or to just think my own thoughts. Even when I was touring a lot, and every day brought a new theater and a new town, I'd head out on foot to explore new territory without the benefit of a map. (Well, except when I was trying to get somewhere on the London Underground or something-- I'd use a map then.)
What I am more interested in these days are the kinds of maps that are less about getting around and more about representing 'what is known'. For example, we've been reading a little bit out of this book:
It's a gorgeous display of maps over the centuries which illustrate how our knowledge of the world (what is/was known) and our world view (what we believe) have shifted over time. I also recently ran into a really interesting post along the same lines over at Brainpickings called Magnificent Maps: Cartography as Power, Propaganda and Art.
My kid loves maps so much she has started collecting them -- recently she found a gorgeous old atlas from the 1920's at our library's book store for $2.00! It has color maps and all sorts of interesting geographic information and diagrams. It now sits next to another new find, a $10.00 globe from the 1980s that we found at Goodwill. These are old, outdated maps but they are also historical artifacts and I think they'll be of great use to us over time.
She also makes maps of her ideas, like in this dress pattern:
And, earlier this spring, we used a map to stake out our 'cat territory' using dice rolls, our knowledge of our town, and a lot of math.
Recently, I've nudged her mapping activities towards the abstract with some graphing, which I consider a kind of map. It may not be the kind of map she'd make on her own, but it was worth a try and I was curious to see how she'd respond.
So, a few days after doing our sidewalk chalk functions game at a park, I tried the same game but this time with graph paper and dice. Each person got two rolls. The first roll determined the rule for the x-axis, the second roll for the y-axis. My result was four 'over' and two 'up'. The kid's was two 'over' and six 'up'. Here's what it ended up looking like:
The resulting map is all her doing. She used the new graph paper I had printed out for our graphing game and as she drew she described to me how each color, line and picture symbolized a landmark along our route downtown. She even threw in a fractal tree to represent the campus woods.