“Only Humans Can Really Get Lost…”

A man being interviewed holding a guitar

On Elvis Costello’s first season of “Spectacle” (2008) there was an interesting moment in his interview with James Taylor, in which the sort of model with which we work here at Culture on the Edge was explored briefly…

Elvis Costello: At times, I know I have a mythic map of my father’s hometown in my head, in which I move characters around in songs. Is it always a real Carolina that you’re speaking of in songs? Or is it sort of a place where longing goes? Is it an imagined place?

James Taylor: I think that that’s a very good way of describing it. It’s the sort of context of my longing, yeah. Continue reading ““Only Humans Can Really Get Lost…””

Consequential Maps

a map showing the second largest religious tradition in each state, 2010This recent map making the social media rounds depicts the runner-up religions for each U.S. state, based on data from the US Religious Census project. NPR, among others, has discussed the map, attempting to explain the anomalies in the map. Why is South Carolina’s second largest religion listed as Bahai and Tennessee’s Judaism when every other southeastern state is Islam? Why are Delaware and Arizona the only states with Hinduism as the second largest religion? Continue reading “Consequential Maps”

The Map is the Identity

Not long ago I heard a story on “Morning Edition,” the National Public Radio news show, on the order and identity that GPS and maps are now bringing to the Kenyan slum of Mathare (in Nairobi), and on the lives of a group of people there who have formed The Spatial Collective. Give it a listen here — but when you do, keep in mind Alfred Korzybski‘s (d. 1950) much-quoted statement that the map is not territory. Continue reading “The Map is the Identity”