“Every map is like this, every map facilitates some living by virtue of its ability to grapple with what is known instead of what is merely seen, what is understood rather than what is no more than sensed. I want to say that recently the distance between this visible, palpable world of our senses and the world we make of it has stretched” (Wood 7).
“This is the very point of the map, to present us not with the world we can see, but to point toward a world we might know” (Wood 12).
It’s interesting that throughout this class we have discussed and analyzed visual rhetoric examples we can easily look at, yet Wood criticizes the idea that we oftentimes take physical copies of maps so seriously. With this second quote, Wood encourages us to look beyond what maps present and to consider what we cannot see. This idea is similar to what Sousanis explores with the imagination in Unflattening (88). Considering what Wood argues and Sousanis’ ideas about imagination, do you think that our use of the maps over time hinders our ability to be imaginative? Does this result in an inability to change the status quo? How does Wood’s discussion of property and mental maps play into this?
Imagination: Nick Sousanis discusses imagination as a crucial to “unflattening” our perspectives. He claims, “[i]magination lets us exceed our inevitably limited point of view to find perspectives not in existence or dimensions not yet accessible” (Sousanis 88). When referring to the function of imagination, he continues, “[i]t is the imagination, Etienne Pelaprat and Michael Cole assert, that fills in the gaps and links fragments to create stable and single images that make it possible for us to think and to act” (Sousanis 90). Hence, imagination allows us to understand life from the perspectives of others.
Understanding: Regarding understanding, Sousanis explores it as the creation of meaning through the process of making connections between ideas, concepts, items, etc. Sousanis states, “[u]nderstanding, like seeing, is grasping this always in relation to that. Even as we hold and stitch distinct viewpoints together, the space between them doesn’t collapse—it’s not a process of closing, of being finished. Rather, each new engagement generates another vantage point from which to continue the process again” (150). This notion further expands and evolves the role of understanding. [MAP]
Sousanis, Nick. Unflattening. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.
perspective, imagination, self-awareness, viewpoint, seeing, constraints
Our imagination fills the gaps in our understanding. Our understanding of new things relies on what we know. Awareness of what we know allows us to venture into the unknown. The unknown is sought to feed our imagination.
Aiken, Nancy E. The Biological Origins of Art. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998.
Latour, Bruno. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
Moore, Alan. Watchmen. Illustrations and lettering by Dave Gibbons. Colorist John Higgins. New York: DC Comics, 1987.
“When ideas are written in stone with the certainty that we got it right, we risk following without reflection” (110).
“Through repetition over time, we become proficient. Forming habits is essential so we do not have to relearn every activity continually” (111).
“To set ourselves free, we can’t simply cut our bonds. For to remove them (if we could) would only set us adrift, detached from the very things that make us who we are” (134).
What is the significance of restraints in relationship to developing an identity?