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Knowledge of space 
Matiss Steinerts (Riga Stradins University)
Start time:
31 July, 2014 at
Time zone: Europe/Tallinn
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

In this lab we'll explore spatial perception based on subjective rather objective measurements.The aim of the lab is to graphically display the way people see and store space in memory. Participants will draw a map of an area recently familiarised, and afterwards will compare it to objective reality.

Long Abstract:

An orthographic map is a common way of displaying physical space. It is like a birds eye view, which is rarely experienced by humans as such. Sensing the scale and proportions of some environmental entity also forms the way we deliver previously sensed experience to others. Michel de Certeau (1988) said that maps have undergone dramatic shifts in the way we represent space. He argued the first maps were rather "itineraries"- a list of actions to do in order to reach a goal. Only later, by advancement of Euclidean geometry and Descartes' Cartesian Coordinate System, were objects fixed on maps.

Denis Wood (2010) declared human body as a valid instrument for measuring spatial entities (185). Knowledge of space and previous experiences shapes it in our mind and it is no wonder this shape is much different from the bird's eye orthogonal maps. Wood provided an experiment-creating mental maps that depict our knowledge of space (Wood 2010,193-194). In this laboratory we'll explore his method's possibility of mapping a space as we perceive it. It is based on the comparison of a mental image of spatial proportions with physical reality depicted on a standard map.

Participants will familiarize themselves with certain area. They will then draw freehand sketches of it and compare them to reality by using Wood's suggested technique, thereby producing their own maps of the space as they know it. Afterwards we will analyze the results by looking at the most precisely depicted spaces and the most distorted ones.