Our individual experience of the city is innately fragmented, episodic and partial. In order to navigate the city a path must be traced. This path may consist of a sequence of known streets or a series of views to distant landmarks, but it could equally be framed by the determination to find something less tangible; warmth, fresh air, adventure or solace. Along this path individual moments are later singled out as significant milestones or as distinct, and sometimes treasured, memories. In between these moments, the rest is blurred or lost. This is why an individual's experience of the city is fragmentary. The mind makes sense of these moments by placing them in a historical sequence or by sorting them into a range of possible groupings and then by representing or reframing them, in dairies, conversations and reminiscences. In this way, we each curate our experience of the city. In this sense, curation has more in common with navigation or framing than it has with the science and practice of mapping. The traditional cartographic concept of mapping implies a holistic attempt to define the limits or characteristics of something. In contrast, navigation and framing suggest a process of selection and organisation within a larger set of possibilities. Both curation and cartography are necessarily representational, but the former infers the existence of a totality from the selective presentation of its elements, while the latter seeks to construct a whole and identify its constituent parts. The point of theoretical slippage between curation and cartography is the act of mapping; a process which serves both the creation and ordering of knowledge.
Curating Architecture and the City p. 39-50
Critiques: Critical Studies in Architectural Humanities 4