In the introduction to their book Mapping; Ways of Representing the World Daniel Dorling and David Fairbairn refer to mapping as “… the mental interpretation of the world”. This concept of mapping would appear to be similar to the process described by Edward C Tolman, who in Cognitive Maps in Rats and Men argued that the responses of rats navigating mazes were based on cognitive maps, a cognitive map being a “… tentative map, indicating routes and paths and environmental relationships …”.
Since 1977 I have been producing graphic artwork by programming computers. Since 1985 I have been using an approach where the programs create images by generating and recording the behaviours of imaginary creatures. The artworks are, in a way, maps of the creatures’ behaviours. Some of this work can be seen on my Vimeo site.
When writing the programs I also am involved in a kind of mapping process. To design a program I have to build a mental map of what should happen when the programs are working. in a sense, I have to imagine how the creatures might map their environment. I also have to think about how to translate my idea for the program into programming language – this is another kind of mapping.
Thinking about how imaginary creatures might think ties in with my interest in how humans think.