Imagined cities built from the fragments of real ones: something similar is happening in Tout bien rangé, a cartography-based artwork by French artist Armelle Caron. It consists of a series of map pairs, one a blind, but recognisably real city map, the other what looks like an assembly kit for that same city, with the its blocks impracticably but neatly arranged by shape and size.
The transformational process involved is threefold: the city on map A is deconstructed, its blocks are classified for size and shape, then reassembled in rows, arranged by type, on map B. The result is reminiscent of butterfly cases and other taxonomical tableaux rather than of a street map. More Linnaeus than Mercator.
In what the artist herself calls Anagrammes graphiques de plans de villes, Caron strips cities of their spatial context. Roads and rivers become irrelevant, districts and parks disappear. The relationship between built-up areas and empty spaces is obliterated.
The city is hung out to dry by its smallest constituent parts. The cartographic compact - maps, however imperfect and partial on paper, are reliable real-world guides - is nullified. The city is un-mapped. Is it therefore also de-coded? The former term implies a loss of information: the city is disassembled, put in storage. The latter suggests a revelation of hidden knowledge: the fragments are pieces of an urban puzzle.
thanks for the link Nancy