Posts Tagged ‘underground’

Underground spatial orientation

Friday, February 17th, 2012

When reading the article, I contemplated the similarities and differences among the three spaces of spatial cognition discussed by Tversky et al. (1999). Last week’s geovisualization lecture, particularly Harry Beck’s 1933 London underground subway map came to mind; how one’s navigation alters once you head down the stairs to the sub-terrestrial world. It is perplexing to ponder that our spatial cognitive spaces are synched and utilized to shift from one environment to another. It feels as though space ceases to exist once I enter a tunnel. Yet, due to signs and landmarks, the destination is eventually reached. In this case, the idea of North is discarded. We solely rely on signs already made, or past experience.

In contrast to Harry Beck, David Shrigley’s London’s underground subway map is an interesting representation of our mind space once we enter the subway system. It is an homage to Beck’s standard map, signifying transcending from confusion to clarity. The space of navigation, the space surrounding the body, and the space of the body in an underground subway setting appear to be more restricted than other environments. This space restriction is produced by existing infrastructure, which limits one’s freedom of exploration. Although I will note that a similar argument could be made with sidewalks. The difference between the subway scenario and the sidewalk scenario, however, is that we are visually restricted. Vancouver’s mountains are not visibly constrained and cannot act as a compass, leading us North.

-henry miller