Mind Mapping was the topic of the day last Wednesday the 28th of September. In this seminar lead by David Brancaleone we discussed the application of the theories of Kevin Lynch particularly Cognitive Mapping form his book The Image of the City (1960) and its application by Fredic Jameson in his post-modernist theories concerning urban planing. The book is considered a precursor to many of the base ideals around participative research (in architectural practice and as far as I can tell from my further research its contribution to urban design in the post modern context. which is a related interdisciplinary field). I can only speak for myself but this seminar set the theme and tone for other areas of social practice that we happened upon this week. We went through our own interpretations of the two Hal Foster texts which I mentioned in my previous posts at the start of the seminar, of course there where elements of the two subjects which had parallels. These parallel where my own particular interpretation of what I see as an illustration of a genuinely ethically sound motivations, this is a broad an encouraging statement I can make not being subject to the scrutiny of any readers. Where I see these parallels are within Hal Fosters vague yet accurate deconstructions of his two topics (the criticism being evidence enough of his altruistic motivations) and Kevin Lynch’s revolutionary almost Patch Adamsy approach to urban design. My point is its enough to take action, even theorizing is praxis enough if the spread of the concerns you have are promoted. Published theory is a social engagement in and of its self.
The Basis of Lynches approach is that rather than using the spatial geographic information laid out in formulaic mapping of Boston, Lynch approach the “indigenous” population who really actually lived in the space. These peoples concerns where with the practicalities of there day to day living. He had his own approach to the layout and categorizing of this information broke down into Paths, Edges, Nodes(central areas), Districts ( known as city areas) and Landmarks, but the information was ascertained by the information given by the “general public” . Lynch created a new paradigm which was not to be popularily recognized till much later.
The main thing that this seminar brought to my mind from my own research was Magnasanti the brain child of Vincent Ocasla who spent a year and a half creating the perfect system within the game Sim City 3000. Vice Magazine Labeled him as a totalitarian Buddhist having made within an essentially unbeatable game the best optional layout for a sustainable city within the confines of the game. The city itself is the peak of efficiency with zero pollution or traffic congestion. Its important when looking at this work to get past the bias of this program being a only a game, Ocasla himself sees “SimCity 3000 is more than just a game. It has evolved to become a tool or medium for artistic self-expression”. But this harmony has its dark side.
There are a lot of other problems in the city hidden under the illusion of order and greatness: Suffocating air pollution, high unemployment, no fire stations, schools, or hospitals, a regimented lifestyle – this is the price that these sims pay for living in the city with the highest population. It’s a sick and twisted goal to strive towards. The ironic thing about it is the sims in Magnasanti tolerate it. They don’t rebel, or cause revolutions and social chaos. No one considers challenging the system by physical means since a hyper-efficient police state keeps them in line. They have all been successfully dumbed down, sickened with poor health, enslaved and mind-controlled just enough to keep this system going for thousands of years. 50,000 years to be exact. They are all imprisoned in space and time.
To Be Continued