It is not given to every (wo)man to take a bath of multitude; enjoying a crowd is an art; and only s/he can relish a debauch of vitality at the expense of the human species, on whom, in his cradle, a fairy has bestowed the love of masks and masquerading, the hate of home and the passion for roaming." Charles Baudelaire,excerpted in Taking a Line for a Walk: Walking as an Aesthetic Practice
"The Map is not the Territory" is a remark by Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski, encapsulating his view that an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself, for example, the pain from a stone falling on your foot is not the stone; one's opinion of a politician, favorable or unfavorable, is not that person; and so on. A specific abstraction or reaction does not capture all facets of its source—e.g., the pain in your foot does not convey the internal structure of the stone, you don't know everything that is going on in the life of a politician, etc.—and thus may limit an individual's understanding and cognitive abilities unless the two are distinguished. Korzybski held that many people do confuse maps with territories, in this sense.
The Situationist International and the theory of the
Richard Long: Walking a Line
acts as a primer on issues which the maps
and essays address: identity, land-use, imprisonment, energy, migration. The contributors define radical cartography as the practice of mapmaking that subverts conventional notions in order to actively promote social change. The object of critique in An Atlas of Radical Cartography is not cartography per se (as is generally meant by the overlapping term critical cartography), but rather social relations. Our criteria for selecting these ten maps emphasized radical inquiry and activist engagement.