Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Sorting Shapes and Cleaning up Cities


What would the world look like if we get everything sorted? Things would be tucked away neatly, places are clean, papers sorted and regulations clear. Maybe.

Sorting and cleaning, polishing and updating, pushing and flushing are frequent terms used in design and research and as part of the discussion definitely have a relevance. They convey a certain change and proposition together with implied 'to the better'.

Armelle Caron
Image taken from Armelle Caron / Paris as it is and sorted.

As usual with terms they can be overused, for things they don't apply or to describe something that is not this way or doesn't even exist. Even more so, they can be over stretched and filled with an missionary believe and practice and followism. This is definitely the case when people start to believe in one of the terms as being the only one, the world saving solution.

Academia is pruned to be a place for sorting and clearing, but on the other hand is also a very messy place. But hey invention and creativity are different beasts altogether. Anyway, it is probably the exchange and the collaboration that prevents ideas and concept to overflow and draining down one of these few juicy terms.

Armelle Caron
Image taken from Armelle Caron / Tamarac as it is and sorted.

Mapping is one of the very visual disciplines that is fundamentally about ordering and sorting. This is built on a intelectual concept of reference, singularity and ultimately truth. A very helpful strategy actually, with a lot of benefits as an abstract representation, simplified to clarify. Nevertheless, the combination of the terms is lethal in terms of reprojection. The things do no longer add up if the abstraction is reversed as a revitalised self. A map is a map, is a map, is a map.

For not bringing them back we can as well sort them pieces. In any order, as you please, but let them be abstractions.

Armelle Caron
Image taken from Armelle Caron / MontPellier as it is and sorted.

Armell Caron has produced these wonderfully sorted pieces of sections or urban plans, sorted into order, any order but the previous one. Nights working on the computer tracing and then moving piece by piece with the curser in Illustrator until neatly sorted in rows. Seems like a very meditative work, at least the power of them illustrations suggests this. Works developed 2005 / 2008.

Via PYTR 75, more details on Armell's blog, on socks-studio, urbain-trop-urabain, the map room or on deconcrete.

Armelle Caron
Image taken from urbain-trop-urabain / City blocks made from wood as a giant puzzle. Probably impossible to sort it exactly in the original way, but there are plenty of variations to mess about.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

For the first pic... pretty sure this is Paris, not Istanbul. Several landmarks (Eiffel Tower, Père Lachaise, etc.) are left out in white and easily identifiable.

fan said...

Of course it is Paris, thanks for pointing this out. But there is also an Istanbul version, HERE.

soundray said...

Reminds of Ursus Wehrli's work (search e.g. ted.com).

fan said...

Thanks for pointing this out. I would have never dreamed that he is doing a TED talk. I actually have his book. THe talk you mention is here:
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/ursus_wehrli_tidies_up_art.html

However, I find him less inspiring than the maps. It seems all a bit comical.