Of course, you say. Cartography is a science. What it describes should be there. And yet, I find myself a little surprised by our ability to measure, to extrapolate, to conjoin, to build a true whole from a gazillion little parts. It’s an enormous intellectual feat. And now, I’m happy to report, it’s been done again — on a scale that boggles my mind.
“Cities have often been compared to language: you can read a city, it’s said, as you read a book. But the metaphor can be inverted. The journeys we make during the reading of a book trace out, in some way, the private spaces we inhabit. There are texts that will always be our dead-end streets; fragments that will be bridges; words that will be like the scaffolding that protects fragile constructions. T.S. Eliot: a plant growing in the debris of a ruined building; Salvador Novo: a tree-lined street transformed into an expressway; Tomas Segovia: a boulevard, a breath of air; Roberto Bolano: a rooftop terrace; Isabel Allende: a (magically real) shopping mall; Gilles Deleuze: a summit; and Jacques Derrida: a pothole. Robert Walser: a chink in the wall, for looking through to the other side; Charles Baudelaire: a waiting room; Hannah Arendt: a tower, an Archimedean point; Martin Heidegger: a cul-de-sac; Walter Benjamin: a one-way street walked down against the flow.”—Valeria Luiselli, “Relingos: The Cartography of Empty Spaces” (via invisiblestories)