“Map is wrong”: existential cartography

January 22, 2009

Woops. I conjectured two days ago that Harry Beck’s metaphysical London Underground map is eternally modern because anyone over the age of seven can tell it’s schematic rather than literal. I forgot to mention yesterday that Richard Wentworth also told a story about finding a Japanese man measuring the distances between stations on the map at Russell Square and indignantly pointing out “Map is wrong”. I was wrong.

But Emily King did say that for her the London Underground map and the A-Z streetfinder “are” London. Design has imprinted her very neurons; existential cartography, isn’t it great?

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One Response to ““Map is wrong”: existential cartography”

  1. William Shaw Says:

    London requires Harry Beck’s kind of cartography. It’s a baffling city, mainly because it’s divided by the wriggliest line, the Thames. For some reason I always orientate myself to this chunk of water as if it were a straight east-west divide. As a result, I’m always baffled to find the post office tower and the gherkin in the wrong place when I look up, and can’t shake the belief that they’re secretly moving when I turn my back. Not only “map is wrong”, but whole skylines too.


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