Autocartography: Electrate Autobiography


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Guidelines for writing in an "electrate" genre using mapmaking software like Google Earth

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  • First printed world map
  • Autocartography: Electrate Autobiography

    1. 1. Autocartography: Electrate Autobiography Richard Smyth, Ph.D. VM606 – Emerson College 21 January 2010
    2. 2. Autocartography: Introduction <ul><li>An “Autocartography” is a composition which uses map-making strategies to write one’s autobiography. </li></ul><ul><li>No map is an objective represen-tation of reality but incorporates personal and cultural subjectivity </li></ul>
    3. 3. Autocartography: Introduction <ul><li>Because medieval maps, or “mappae mundi” (maps of the world) make no attempt at representing the real world, they are perfect models for autocarto-graphic writing. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Medieval Mappae Mundi <ul><li>“ The great elaborated mappae mundi located the events of spiritual history—the Fall, Incarnation, Judgment—alongside London and Paris, Egypt and Greece. The inhabited world of man interlocked with other spheres of existence—that of spiritual history, that of the past, and that of the miraculous, beyond the borders of civilization” (Whitfield 14). </li></ul>
    5. 5. Medieval Mappa Mundi <ul><li>“The construction of a world map in the middle ages was a literary and a theological exercise, not a geo-graphical one” (Whitfield 14). </li></ul>
    6. 6. Examples of Medieval Mappa Mundi <ul><li>The Psalter Map (c.1250) </li></ul><ul><li>Hereford Mappa Mundi (c. 1300) </li></ul><ul><li>Genoese World Map (1457) </li></ul><ul><li>Rudimentum Novitiorum (1475) </li></ul><ul><li>Jain Chart of the World (15 th C.) </li></ul>
    7. 7. I. Psalter Map c.1250 <ul><li>“ It is among the earliest maps to place Jerusalem firmly at the centre of the world. . . among the earliest to depict visually Biblical events such as Noah’s Ark, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the walls imprisoning Gog and Magog. . .” (Whitfield 18). </li></ul>
    8. 8. Psalter Map
    9. 10. Psalter Map: detail of Gog & Magog
    10. 11. Psalter Map: detail of the monstrous races of Africa
    11. 12. II. Hereford Mappa Mundi c.1300 <ul><li>“ . . . it is no less than an intellectual world-picture, where history and theology are projected onto an image of the physical world. The great cosmic events of past and future—the fall of man, the crucifixion, the apocalypse—are located in the real, inhabited world, alongside London and Paris, Spain and Egypt” (Whitfield 20). </li></ul>
    12. 13. Hereford Mappa Mundi
    13. 14. Hereford Mappa Mundi <ul><li>“ The biblical lands are given a relatively large area, reflecting their importance to the medieval mind, and many biblical scenes and cities are shown. The peripheral vignettes—the sphinx, the mandrake, the pelican, the cannibals—are perhaps the map’s most striking feature. . . . They represent a stratum of medieval lore and belief which appeared repeatedly in literature and art” (whitfield 20). </li></ul>
    14. 15. Hereford Mappa Mundi: details
    15. 16. III. Genoese World Map 1457 <ul><li>“ The map retains the character of a visual encyclopedia, derived from the mappae mundi showing real or mythical figures all over the world, although the religious theme is now completely replaced by secular history and legend: the emperor of China, warring pygmies, mermaids, Prester John, and so on” (Whitfield 40). </li></ul>
    16. 17. Genoese Map of the World
    17. 18. IV. Rudimentum Novitiorum 1475 <ul><li>“ Several mythological emblems are drawn: the phoenix, a devil or cannibal, and the tree of the sun and moon. The image of paradise is puzzling in that the two figures both holding branches of the tree of knowledge appear to be both men, instead of Adam and Eve” (Whitfield 34). </li></ul>
    18. 19. Rudimentum Novitiorum
    19. 20. V. Jain Chart of the World (15 th C.) <ul><li>“ [The] deliberate symmetry makes it clear that, although the chart makes use of some features from real geography, such as rivers and mountains, the structure of the whole is not intended to be repre-sentational” (Whitfield 30). </li></ul>
    20. 21. Jain Chart of the World <ul><li>The map is centred on Mount Meru (also sacred to the Hindus). . . </li></ul><ul><li>The symmetry of the map and its repetitive pattern suggest that it was an aid to contemplation. </li></ul><ul><li>The non-representational map becomes a religious icon, and the image of the world becomes unworldly in its purpose. </li></ul><ul><li>(Whitfield 30) </li></ul>
    21. 22. Autocartography: Orientation <ul><li>Think of your self as a place, a space, a geography to be mapped. </li></ul><ul><li>Think of this as a way to map your sacred and psychic geography. </li></ul><ul><li>Think of this as a way to gather together the stories, both real and imaginary, that define who you are. </li></ul><ul><li>Think of this as an assemblage of stories, anecdotes, myths, legends, personal and cultural history. </li></ul>
    22. 23. Autocartography: Orientation <ul><li>Remember that juxtaposition will be a primary mode of execution. Like the medieval mappae mundi , you can juxtapose real places with sacred places (or “chora”) and inhabit them with real people from your past as well as mythic and heroic figures that define who you are or have been. </li></ul><ul><li>You can write in fragments. There is no need to have a continuous flow as in traditional writing. Juxtapose the fragments in artful and meaningful ways. </li></ul>
    23. 24. Journaling Questions: Spirituality <ul><li>What are the events of your spiritual history? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some sacred stories that resonate with you—from mythic, Christian and/or other traditions? </li></ul><ul><li>What or where is your spiritual center? </li></ul>
    24. 25. Journaling Questions: Stories <ul><li>What are the monsters that inhabit your margins and outer regions? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the “great cosmic events” of your life? The “stepping stones”? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the myths, legends, fairy tales and heroes that inhabit your imagination and resonate with different phases of your life? </li></ul>
    25. 26. Journaling Questions: Histories <ul><li>Who are the historical figures to whom you are drawn? </li></ul><ul><li>What historical periods most interest you? Why do you think this is? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there stories in your family history that resonate with you? </li></ul>
    26. 27. Journaling Questions: Places <ul><li>What places have you lived? How did they contribute to your psychic geography? </li></ul><ul><li>If you didn’t have to worry about accuracy or spatial representation (as in medieval mapmaking), how would you situate these places in your psychic geography? </li></ul>
    27. 28. Topos vs. Chora <ul><li>Topos as “literate” place </li></ul><ul><ul><li>locate ideas spatially </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>conceive of space as a container </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>create fixed places of argumentation and exposition (the “commonplaces”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>emphasis on clarity and coherence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rhetorical topoi = modes of conceptual/ literate thought: comparison/contrast, definition, classification, description </li></ul></ul>
    28. 29. Topos vs. Chora <ul><li>Chora as “electrate” place </li></ul><ul><ul><li>conceive of space as container or matrix </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>emphasis on relational attachments rather than neutral space: a “cartography of attachments” (Mitew) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ emotion maps” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rhetorical “chorai”: experiment with modes of electrate thought (juxtaposition, appropriation, pattern) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a layering or sedimenting: multiple tracks/ meanings </li></ul></ul>
    29. 30. “Emotion Map”
    30. 31. Topos vs. Chora <ul><li>“‘ place’—emptied of personal and social feeling—came to be associated with a neutral container. . . ‘The older word, chora, retained subjective meanings in the classical period. It appeared in emotional statements about places, and writers were inclined to call a sacred place a chora instead of a topos .’” </li></ul><ul><li>--Gregory Ulmer. Heuretics: The Logic of Invention (quoting Eugene Victor Walter. Placeways: A Theory of the Human Environment ). p.70. </li></ul>
    31. 32. Autocartography is Mystory “ Mystory is . . . a cognitive map of its maker’s ‘psychogeography.’” -- Ulmer. Internet Invention . p. 81.
    32. 33. Autocartography is Choragraphy <ul><li>“ Choragraphy. . . is my proposal for a hyper-rhetoric in which chora rather than topos is the kind of space used as a metaphor for the places of invention (for the storage and retrieval of information in electracy). . .Electracy retains the conceptual topics of literacy and supplements them with the image choras of electracy.” </li></ul><ul><li>--Gregory Ulmer. Internet Invention. p. 101. </li></ul>
    33. 34. Autocartography is Place-Making <ul><li>“ What begins as undifferentiated space becomes place as we get to know it better and endow it with value” (6). </li></ul><ul><li>“ Space is transformed into place as it acquires definition and meaning” (136). </li></ul><ul><li>--Yi-Fu Tuan. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. </li></ul>
    34. 35. References <ul><li>Mitew, Teodor. “Repopulating the Map: Why Subjects and Things are Never Alone.” Fibreculture 13. Viewed 21 January 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>Tuan, Yi-Fu. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Minneapolis, MN: </li></ul><ul><li>U of Minnesota Press, 1977. </li></ul><ul><li>Ulmer, Gregory L. Heuretics: The Logic of Invention. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 1994. </li></ul><ul><li>---. Internet Invention: From Literacy to Electracy. New York: Longman, 2003. </li></ul><ul><li>Whitfield, Peter. The Image of the World: Twenty Centuries of World Maps. San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1994. </li></ul>
    35. 36. Contact <ul><li>Richard Smyth, Ph.D. </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>