The map just might be the Territory

2006.08.05 (Saturday, August 5)

The excellent Terre Nova asks a non-rhetorical question, “Where am I?” and gets lots of very geometrical, topological geeky-types of responses. As elegant and as beautiful as some of these representations are, I’m not so sure that they actually help to answer the original question. In other words, I don’t feel any more there by looking at these maps of networks. Granted, the amounts of information required to make a mapping of the metaverse are copious, and the diverse types of data imply from the onset, they will be documents of extreme spatial complexity. Creating a coherent visual representation of different worlds whose scale, protocols and topologies are considerably different, is not a simple matter.

While I’m sure that the solution will somehow be based on a topologically complex structure that is inherently related to the worlds it is trying to represent, I have a hunch that ultimately, it will be a multi-sensory experience that will be closer to art than to cartography.

Although this may, in some way, imply the use of a map as we know it, the end result will hardly be a mere graphic abstraction, but rather an experience where space and mapping will converge. And while we’ve been told that “the map is not the territory,” I think this adage will be reversed in our attempt to be oriented when we jack into a metaverse –the map and the territory will become reversible.

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