ELSE/WHERE: Mapping New Cartographies

Amsterdam Realtime in Else/Where by Rebecca Ross


“What would happen if, when saying that some image is human-made, you were increasing instead of decreasing its claim to truth?” – Bruno Latour, Iconoclash’

The article Perils of Precision by Rebecca Ross was published in ELSE/WHERE, Mapping new cartographies of networks and territories, edited by Janet Abrams and Peter Hall, University of Minesota in March, 2006.

“Amsterdam RealTime, a project implemented by the Waag with artist Esther Polak in 2002, gestures toward a way of mapping the city that favors incorporating public participation over reproducing minute detail.” […] “The project ran in conjunction with an eHhibition mounted by the Amsterdam Municipal Archives of a history of maps of Amsterdam, Kaarten van Arns terdam: 1866 – 2000. Maps presented as records of the city as it once was were displayed side by side with maps that served as proposals, alternative diagrams of what Amsterdam might have become. As a collection, they revealed a history of increasing discrete lines and integrated detail. The Amsterdam RealTime images are a sparse inversion of this, more akin to medical X-rays than anatomical illustrations. The pictures generated by Amsterdam RealTime are fuzzy because that is the nature of summaries that encompass many eHperiences simultaneously. Such blurriness is a counter-intuitive eHpression of a new potential for vitality in mapping, a new level of honesty about its ow”n limits and capabilities.”

See Amsterdam Realtime for more info.