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Graham Harwood
9 (Nine) (Harwood, Graham), 2003

Descartes (1596-1650) probably near Ulm on the Danube has a fever. After a day spent in intense philosophical speculations he falls asleep in an agitated state - three dreams later and his vision produces[1] Cartesian Co-ordinates and within them one of the multiple «origins» of maps. This period is dominated by deadly epidemics and during his time in Paris he would have witnessed 60,000 deaths in Lyon from Typhus and 25,000 deaths in Limoges.


Cartesian Co-ordinates are used to input the mouse user position on most windowing environment. Guy Debord, a key Situationist theorist, has caught a cold, some 300 years after Descartes. His infection started after walking around Paris making a series «psycho-geographic guides» in the rain. Recording his aimless wanderings, Debord cuts up and reconfigures a standard Paris map. Reflecting street-level desires and perceptions, mapping alternative itineraries and attempting to subvert what Descartes origin had become. 1988 Stefan Szczelkun walks around cities and produces a series of collaborations called «Duets.»[2] Two people collaborating took a series of 24 «aimless»pictures over the day revealing the subjective city, Harwood among them leaves early due to a stomach ulcer. Spring 1998 Mongrels begin attempting to subvert Descartes origin. Walking around3 Hull and struck by the lack of finds in the emotional fossil record. Take it upon themselves to fill in the space by making emotional maps of the city with other Mongrels met along the way. Richard: «We could make maps of fear or maps of lust.» Matsuko: «Lets plot emotional states onto the position of things.» Harwood: «Lets go for long aimless walks about nothing and go nowhere.» We work four days and calibrate the information into a geography of social Class.


Software construction: Note#2 May 98 (a specific need)

We have a specific need that we found doing workshops. We want to have dialogues that allow us to produce fast artefacts of digital culture with other mongrels. A crucial thing we have found in workshops is that people want to produce something that looks good, and means something, but don't want to have to invest months in teaching themselves up to know

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something like Photoshop or Director. We don't particularly want to knock these programs, but they're cultured up to be useful really only to experts.


February 2001 - lost somewhere in Delhi feeling well and thinking about this article. I pick up the map, a practical tool for merchants and governments to carve up territory for themselves and plan military campaigns. Wipe the scum of the city from my mind: a usual activity for most of us, a 9common sense : that can help amass someone an empire, a small business, transport people half way around the world against their will. This forgetting offers us a temporary blindness that allows us to go about our daily lives, walking past the rich-sick-homeless-no-hoper-beggars or the building built on the glories that meant other peoples' pain.


Software construction: Note#3 November 98 (Software a device for a subjective «Knowledge- Map»)

We need to make some sort of Subjective knowledge-maps that can draw together the invisible structure of
fear, lust and happiness that underpins our experience of the city. Fear imprisons people's divides up territory every bit as much as the very real razor wire you see on a ride around the city or the urinated lifts and deserted corridors of north London.


I now forget the map and remember the journey, as I also forget the software that wrote this text. It seems software exists in some form of invisible shadow world of procedure something like the key we find in maps. Software is establishing models by which things are done yet, like believing the objectivity of maps, we forget that software is derived from certain cultural, historical and economic trajectories. Software like the map can never just be a tool; in the invisibility of its construction it is always drawn and positioned.


Software construction: Note#4 January 99 (Software Basics)

In order to make Software work for as many people as possible, we need to explore creativity reduced to Selection, Naming and Linking - Try to illuminate everything else from the creative act.

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Take nine images, not ten or eight but nine - the upper limit of gestalt grouping. Create a layout or «knowledge-map» structured into an easily remembered instrumental [3][3] grid. Alpha-numerically order the grid according to the user's filename entries so the map elements can be arranged on the screen. E.G [[1] = a, [2] = b, [3] = c], [[4] = d, [5] = e, [6] = f], [[7]= g, [8] = h, [9] = I]]


I follow the menu items of Software like I followed the map of Delhi moving from place to place transfixed by the representation I see before me, while seeing nothing of the social geographies from which they were emerged and on which they act. I ignore the built-in bias - the implicit totalitarianism of prescribed functions and procedures - instead I am transfixed by the outcome of my interaction with applications. I forget the program in order to get on with this article so I can go home - love the wife - bath the boy - walk the dog.

Software construction: Note#5 February 99 (Content totalitarianism)

Software will be content totalitarianism. From software's initial layout, the software will enable you to create sixteen links from each map image to a sound, image, text, video clip or to other parts of the map or again to other maps and different scale views of the map with a single click. Reduce objectifying the interface to the user to the minimum. No menu items like File, Edit, View, and their subsets Cut, Paste, Save As, Open - all removed.


Although maps depict what is actually visible, they also visualise what is invisible in everyday experience and through the selectivity of the mapmaker, certain elements are shown and given relative importance whilst others are not. The map it seems is an abstract visual composition for finding my way round, a godly view from a vertical rather than horizontal plain, usually drawn at a constant scale across its surface. Software also attempts to visualise and structure creative processes and procedures along 9helpful : lines. It objectifies interface content for the user. Imposing invisible constructs within their work, reducing it to a series of binary choices that are hierarchically defined.

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Software construction: Note#6 March 99 (Content totalitarianism continued)

Software should work in series, no binary choices. The difference between two and three is as large as the difference between the map and the experience the city. Lets make absolutely sure we do not waste pixels. Interface = the least effective difference.

The apparent confidence I feel, when looking at a map points toward a graphic illusion of our experienced urban space. It is so compelling over and above its use as a method of knowing where I was where I will be where I'm going. It is also obvious that maps present only one possible version of the earth's surface, a fiction constructed from factual observation derived from Descartes origin. This fiction maps itself onto the cities exterior the city image as a mediated concept, the city as seen from elsewhere. Out of the put-put and walking down to[3] Sarai, 29 Rajpur Road, Delhi, India, I realise the cab driver could not read the map! I could have been showing him an engineering drawing of the Boeing 747 - he does not care. This city is navigated by asking the way. The map is in theexchange between people finding their way and recognising places. «That's where I got married - That's were the riot took place - That's where I lost my virginity - That's Delhi Gate where the British re-took the city.»


Software construction: Note#7 April 99 (Inconsequential interface)

Process: Take four uses of Software and calculate the [4] (Pixels-UsedFor-InterfaceDisplay) divided by (Pixels-UsedFor-ContentDisplay) to give the % of interface in the total visual experience of using Software. Yields that early implementations of the Software interface are averaging 5 % of the total visual experience of the user. Final interface reduces this to 1.08 % of the total visual experience of the user.


The modern map presupposes a certain worldview, a specific visual geography that takes a kind of birds' eye view. The map is a scale drawing not an exact reproduction. It is a symbolic representation by an agreed set of symbols figures, lines and shading. Software also presupposes the user to have a certain

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world-view a high point in its marketing potential. Software is a systematic modelling of the creative process not an exact reproduction of that process. Software is a symbolic representation of creative processes by an agreed set of symbols and processes of interaction.

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