places I haven’t been

Reading for tonight’s class (focused on maps and mapping), I began to think of odd encounters I’ve had with maps. I was never in this house, but I’ve heard many stories about the home my great grandmother lived in that straddled the border of Canada and Montana – parts of the house falling on either side of the border. As a child, I imagined a line existing where the border was.

When I got my teaching job in Colorado, the school didn’t have an address; it used the highway number it was off of. Recently, I noticed it had an established address that didn’t name the highway, but the number only.

I don’t tag photos on Facebook with a location, but I have been tagged in a few. I wonder what this map of places I have been recently looks like and how it shapes a representation of me.

Gearing up toward moving in the summer to a place I have never been, I’m looking at pictures and Google maps to create a representation of the place and potential spaces to occupy. These are only what I construct from a distance.

Each time I go somewhere unfamiliar, my dad preps me with expedition tools, despite now owning a GPS. He typically talks through detailed directions, moves into sketching a more focused view of areas of potential problems (street view with directional flow notations), and equips me with a local map and an atlas.

Filling out applications, many required a specific address for campus beyond the building name. Street didn’t seem to match up in some cases, and there was a want for numerical input. Room numbers were inputted, but I wonder if anyone might look for 612 Pray-Harrold?

Not sure if it’s related to my migraines/chiari, but I have what has been described as a very strong sense of smell. Or at least one that focuses in on naming specific smells and combinations of smells. I am now imagining creating maps for areas I live based on the smells that are associated with them. Not permanent, but fleeting sensory maps of places one hasn’t fully been.

2 thoughts on “places I haven’t been

  1. Finally getting around to adding your blog to my feed reader, and was skimming through recent posts.

    Have you ever read Suskind’s Perfume? I read it back in the day as part of a class on postmodernism, where we read it after reading Jay’s Downcast Eyes (all about vision as a dominant motif in Western thought). After reading Perfume, we spent part of class thinking out loud about how theoretical language would have to change if it were grounded in smell rather than sight…fascinating discussion ensued 🙂 The idea of a scent map made me think of it…



  2. I haven’t, but will certainly check it out 🙂 Networked Humanities made me think about how often visual metaphors are invoked for talking about writing/scholarship/thinking/many and/or most things – how we visualize concepts/semiotics. Our work in Derek’s Visual Rhetorics class, particularly mapping and GPS navigation, had me thinking about maps that utilize our other senses, and perhaps other metaphors for conceptualizing. I’m not sure if sight/vision will ever shift from our dominant sense, but a scent map of local eateries or an acoustic map of noise pollution in a city are fun things to think about.

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