Cartographic Grounds Gallery: Projecting the Landscape Imaginary
Cartographic Grounds, a recent exhibition at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, seeks to “reconcile the precision and instrumentality of the plan with the geographic and territorial scope of the map. The ascendance of “mapping” and data visualization in design culture has changed the way architects, landscape architects and urban designers communicate ideas about buildings and landscapes, often privileging abstract forces and flows over the material conditions of the site. This exhibit reimagines the projective potential of cartographic practices that afford greater proximity to the ground itself. The approaches presented here seek to reconcile the precision and instrumentality of the plan with the geographic and territorial scope of the map.
There are no absolute standards or conventions in cartography, but there are logics, systems and precise techniques for describing the ground that are capable of transcending scales — from the body to the territory — and materials — from the aqueous to terrestrial — without losing fidelity to the condition being depicted. In Cartographic Relief Presentation, Eduard Imhof reacted against loose cartographic practices and pushed for the careful rendering of terrain, the foundational layer of many maps and landscape plans. As design extends its purview to cartography, it is time once again to look closely at maps and plans, to immerse ourselves in their beauty but also to uncover their projective potential.
View the gallery online here.