Thursday, July 1, 2010

Semiotics, Place Making, and The Body

So what is this?

It's a map made from wood. Rather than a traditional visual offering, it's tactile. The Inuit hold this map under their mittens and feel the contours with their fingers to discern patterns in the coastline. Some say the advantage of this map is that it can be used in any situation: in the dark, in the will float if you drop it into the water, and it works at any temperature. It will also last longer than one that is printed. What interests me is how much respect it has for the body as a tool for understanding and discerning. The body, not just consciousness, reads and interprets the world--providing valuable insight. In this case, through the interaction with the body, this map not only informs but guides a person through the landscape. Bless a culture who can design tools that not only offer clear function but can brush up against the poetic. Humbling stuff.

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