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2009-10-14 21:25:31 - by Nicolas Malevé

Just cannot resist to post these two recent images of cartographic and notational practices in the collective Constant and friends associations.

The two first are documents taken during the Speed Cartography event.

«When the arts labs (kunstenwerkplaatsen), Zennestraat 17 Rue de la Senne and BRXLBRAVO started cooperating on the Artslab² project, the multitude of artists in Brussels became a pivotal point, as well as the complexity of network(s), its multilingual and geographically dispersed landscape and numerous cooperations.

With this map we want to show a fragment of this complexity in a playful way, therefore we organize two public mapping performances with paint, on the floor, in the entrance of Zennestraat 17 Rue de la Senne»

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These other two are notations made during the rehearsals of the Kaleidoscope project, «an installation-performance initiated by Constant and Mangrove Tentactile. Kaleidoscope will be showed during Verbindingen/Jonctions12 at La Bellone, 25, 27 & 28th November 2009.»

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With admiration.

Online surveillance map Zurich
2009-08-20 12:19:16 - by Nicolas Malevé

«The organising committee of the Big Brother Awards Switzerland has published a map of more than 70 video surveillance cameras in a city district of Zurich (Switzerland). The map was presented on the occasion of a public camera-spotting walk on 10 April 2004, that was organised as part of the annual ’Spring surveillance’ events.

Most of the cameras are installed by private entities, some of them are dummies. The cameras are categorised by a special typology.»

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Interesting maps half-way between architect plans and electric circuitry. Available for download with instructions on how to fold and print. Also notice the effort made for the icons in the legend.

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Visit online

And also other links to surveillance cameras websites.

Urban Versioning System v1.0
2009-08-11 15:45:13 - by Nicolas Malevé

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A quasi-license by Matthew Fuller and Usman Haque.


Take the separate domains of Free Software licenses and of spatial construction. Consider each of them as a series of types of entity, composition and relations. What series might be invented to run across the two of them? This document is a quasi-license. If its constraints are followed in the production of spatial structures, whether buildings or more fleeting constructions, you, and others, will be able to make something new, or reversion something already there and you will be able to express clearly how others can participate or make use of the work you are creating.

The production of structures to articulate, produce and protect space, often coded under the disciplinary term ‘architecture’ is arguably one of humanity’s oldest activities. Countless technologies and legal frameworks have grown along with this process. Formerly one of the most collaborative endeavours, architecture now often functions in opposition to such collaboration. On the one hand it reinforces, and is reinforced by, whatever accretes as the currently dominant political system and some contend that this relationship makes it ineligible as a means for authentically confronting structures of power.i On the other, making buildings is a substantially collaborative effort, always involving teams and multiple kinds of expertise and decision making. All that may be required to free up construction is to render its repertoire of collaboration more expansive. Recent social, cultural and technological developments, particularly in the fields of software and electronics, suggest strategies for productive mechanisms that exist substantially within a given political frameworkyet still are able to provide clear indication of political alternatives. These alternatives in software, Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) are highly pragmatic, do the work required of them but also reinvent forms of production in a way that set up real possibilities for freedom.

Why is this relevant to the making of urban spaces? For the first time in the history of humanity more of us live within cities than outside them.ii It is vital to begin to think through how we can become more consciously involved in their design, production and inhabitation. While there is a concern about how much individuals can, with good purpose, affect their environment it is clear that we are all, collectively, and in ways strongly shaped by the kinds of collectives we form, having some sort of ecological impact. Therefore ways of organising frameworks, in formal or less formal ways, for collectively productive activities are becoming increasingly important to attend to. A discussion of the processes through which humans construct cities could appear to support the argument that there is a distinction between “artificial” and “natural”. In fact it demonstrates the opposite: just as with any non-human entity we collectively construct our ecological and architectural frameworks and these frameworks tend to overlap with those of others. These overlaos have consequences. The difference is (or should be) that we consciously recognise our interdependence and thus must consciously act upon it.

Architecture, which exists at the very moment when space is defined, constructed and experienced through activity, is perhaps the most common shared enterprise of them all. A city is a city if it is lived-in: otherwise it is merely a pile of bricks, cables and concrete. Our interdependence however does not mean that anyone is ‘naturally’ dependent on the current state of cities or societies. The proportion of the earth’s inhabitants ‘depending’ on systems of neo-liberalism or oligarchy, for instance, are rather pitiful compared to the amount of natural and human resources they require to maintain their unabashedly vampiric positions. Such a situation deserves some regeneration.

In order to develop thinking about such interdependence and collaboration we might as well start from where it is blocked. The architectural profession remains relatively steadfast in a distinction that divides designers from users, even though technology increasingly provides grounds for diminishing that distinction, either through networks (electronic, social, geographical) that provide people with better access to cross-collaborative tools and multi-disciplinary inputs or through responsive building technologies that can place people themselves at the helm of the configuration/design of their own spaces.

In the eighties and nineties, computers’ impact on the architectural discipline was in the form of design aids. In the coming decades computers will increasingly be a part of the architecture itself, enabling user-centered interaction systems for configuring environmental conditions. We have already seen systems like those that track movements of the sun to control louvres outside a building, or movements of people to adapt light levels inside a building. We have seen “intelligent” devices that monitor temperature to provide us with optimum levels or even walls that change colour as necessary to complement interior designs. However, innovation in the design and construction of the built environment of the future, appears to be split problematically between large developers (who have their own particular efficiencies of scale to optimise) on one hand, and ubiquitous computing technologists (who are developing the systems that mediate the ways that we relate to our spaces and to each other) on the other, with architects finding themselves somewhat irrelevant. People-centered architectural interfaces and responsive building systems are being developed, not by architects but by computer scientists designers and artists working independently or through numerous institutions, with all the historical and commercial associations that these institutions are party to. .

This document proposes that another lesson can be learned for architecture from computing: the way in which software is made. Here, we want to concentrate on the current most significant mode of software development, Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), steering clear of ubicomp fantasies that may often obfuscate technological power structures.

Read more.

Des logiciels libres aux données libres
2009-07-15 11:20:44 - by Nicolas Malevé

Un article fort complet d’ Yves Jacolin sur les logiciels et données libres pour la géomatique. On y apprend entre autres qu’ Openstreetmap adopterait une nouvelle licence (en remplacement de la licence Creative Commons actuelle) pour préciser davantage ce que signifie la réutilisation de données et les travaux dérivés.

Lire en ligne

(Merci P !)

By way of contrast to utopias, heterotopias
2009-07-08 10:08:40 - by Nicolas Malevé

Some fragments, in French and English, of Foucault’s thoughts on Heterotopias.

« On ne vit pas dans un espace neutre, blanc. On ne vit pas, on ne meurt pas, on n’aime pas dans le rectangle d’une feuille de papier...
Il est bien probable que chaque groupe humain, quel qu’il soit, découpe dans l’espace qu’il occupe, où il vit réellement, où il travaille, des lieux utopiques. Il y a parmi tous ces lieux qui se distinguent les uns des autres, il y en a qui sont, en quelque sorte absolument différents. Des lieux qui s’opposent à tous les autres, qui sont destinés à les effacer, à les compenser, à les neutraliser ou à les purifier. Ce sont en quelque sorte des "contre - espaces". Ces "contre - espaces", ces utopies localisées, les enfants les connaissent bien. Bien sûr, c’est le fond du jardin, c’est le grenier, ou mieux encore : c’est la tente d’indien dressée au milieu du grenier...
La société adulte a organisé elle-même, et bien avant les enfants, ses propres "contre - espaces", ces utopies situées, ces lieux réels hors de tous les lieux. Par exemple : il y a les jardins, les cimetières, il y a les asiles, les maisons closes, les villages du Club Méditerranée et bien d’autres... En général, les hétérotopies ont pour règle de juxtaposer en un lieu réel plusieurs espaces (réels ou imaginaires) qui normalement seraient ou devraient être incompatibles... Les hétérotopies sont ces espaces différents, ces autres lieux, ces contestations mythiques et réelles de l’espace où nous vivons. »

Ecouter ici
Retranscrit ici.

« There are also, probably in every culture, in every civilization, real places - places that do exist and that are formed in the very founding of society - which are something like counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted. Places of this kind are outside of all places, even though it may be possible to indicate their location in reality. Because these places are absolutely different from all the sites that they reflect and speak about, I shall call them, by way of contrast to utopias, heterotopias. »


« The heterotopia is capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible. Thus it is that the theater brings onto the rectangle of the stage, one after the other, a whole series of places that are foreign to one another ; thus it is that the cinema is a very odd rectangular room, at the end of which, on a two-dimensional screen, one sees the projection of a three-dimensional space, but perhaps the oldest example of these heterotopias that take the form of contradictory sites is the garden. We must not forget that in the Orient the garden, an astonishing creation that is now a thousand years old, had very deep and seemingly superimposed meanings. The traditional garden of the Persians was a sacred space that was supposed to bring together inside its rectangle four parts representing the four parts of the world, with a space still more sacred than the others that were like an umbilicus, the navel of the world at its center (the basin and water fountain were there) ; and all the vegetation of the garden was supposed to come together in this space, in this sort of microcosm. As for carpets, they were originally reproductions of gardens (the garden is a rug onto which the whole world comes to enact its symbolic perfection, and the rug is a sort of garden that can move across space). The garden is the smallest parcel of the world and then it is the totality of the world. The garden has been a sort of happy, universalizing heterotopia since the beginnings of antiquity (our modern zoological gardens spring from that source). »

From Michel Foucault Of Other Spaces (1967), Heterotopias.

Lire en français, Des espaces autres (1967)

"The World" by Dubaï
2009-06-15 16:37:05 - by Antoine Berlon

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The world

Cette photo-satellite issue de Google-earth représente "The World" qui est un archipel d’îles artificielles situé au large de l’Émirats-Arabes-Unis de Dubaï (golfe Persique). A termes, cet archipel représentera une planisphère où figureront tous les plus grands pays du monde.
Ce "très ambitieux projet architectural" rassemblera plus de 250 îles privées principalement allouées au tourisme. Les plus grandes fortunes du monde pourront s’offrir une île pour la modique somme de 10 millions de dollars pour les plus petites à 45 millions pour les mieux loties. Les travaux, toujours en cours, ont débuté en 2003 et devaient se stopper initialement en 2008. Il faut savoir que pour réaliser de tels édifices, une main d’œuvre, principalement d’origine étrangère travaille de manière continue, 24heure/24 et 7jours/7 dans une grande précarité.
Si vous voulez néanmoins acquérir une de ces îles, vous pouvez consulter ici le très noble site officiel.

Origine des Parisiens en 1920
2009-06-15 15:59:29 - by Antoine Berlon

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Cette carte issue du blog "Strange maps" révèle que de nombreux parisiens ne sont en réalité que des migrants issus des différentes provinces française. Bien que réalisée en 1920, cette carte porte en elle un clivage Paris/Province aujourd’hui toujours présent qui reste très marqué dans l’imaginaire collectif. A Paris, lorsque l’on désigne une Région française, on parle de Province (ainsi un habitant de la ville de Marseille devient un provinciale au même titre qu’un habitant de Nantes). En opposition, "le Provinciale", parlera de "Parigot" pour désigner un habitant d’Ile de France. Dans les deux cas, ces termes ont une connotation péjorative et ils renvoient souvent à l’opposition existante entre la ville et la campagne. La Fontaine l’avait déjà souligné au 17ème siècle avec sa fable "Rats des villes, rats des champs".
Un autre élément compris dans la légende semble également intéressant à souligner : les provinciaux arrivant à Paris ont tendance à s’installer aux alentours des gares qui desservent leurs Régions d’origines. Ainsi le 12ème arrondissement contient principalement des Avignonnais, des Provençaux et des Lyonnais alors que le 19ème accueille des Alsaciens, des Lorrains et des Franc-comtois.

Le Monde en chaussures...
2009-06-15 14:54:08 - by Antoine Berlon

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Cette carte a été réalisé par Emad Hajjaj, dessinateur pour le journal jordanien "Al-Ghad". Ici, chaque pays, chaque continent, est représenté par une chaussure, le limitant ainsi à un aspect communément admis. L’Amérique du Sud devient alors une chaussure de foot et les États-Unis ,une botte de cow-boy.
Source : Strange maps

Cartographie des résaux de métros Nord-Américain
2009-06-15 14:07:07 - by Antoine Berlon

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A première vue, ces réseaux de métro des grandes villes Nord-Américaines sont similaires. Mais les changements d’échelles appliqués à la taille des réseaux tronquent la réalité de leur étendues. Encore une fois, l’échelle est l’élément fondamentale de la justesse d’une carte. Ainsi, le système de Los Angeles est comparable à celui de Dallas et ceci par la volonté du cartographe qui décide des éléments qu’il souhaite présenter.

Source : Radical cartography

Interstices Urbains Temporaires
2009-06-08 14:04:42 - by Antoine Berlon

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Cette carte présente une tentative de représentations des interstices existant dans le quartier de La Chapelle situé dans le 18ème arrondissement parisien. Ce projet s’intéresse aux expérimentations architecturales et artistiques menées autours des interstices urbains.
Il faut entendre par "interstices", les zones territoriales résistant encore aux politiques foncières de l’aménagement urbain. La ville, dans son ensemble, dispose de quantités d’espaces vierges d’activités : on parle de terrains vagues, de friches, d’indéterminations spatiales,...Leur fonctionnements diffèrent des espaces classiques de la ville, et "l’auto-gestion" prend ici une ampleur significative.
Les objectifs de cette recherche-action sont d’explorer une série de situations urbaines interstitielles (spatiales, temporelles, institutionnelles, interculturelles…) et d’expérimenter des micro-dispositifs participatifs d’intervention artistique et architecturale à différentes échelles (quartier, ville). Pour plus d’informations, visitez le site des Interstices Urbains Temporaires

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