Landscapes of Global Capital
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Though this is labeled as a map, in this 'map' produced in the 1570s by a German and a Belgian - Georg Braun of Cologne and Frans Hogenberg of Brussels, the distinction between a landscape and map becomes very thin. It looks more like what we have been calling a landscape and less like a map because it lacks the coordinates that we now expect a map to provide - the directions to a location.

Braun and Hogenberg, 1570s

When is a map a landscape? Does this also mean that a landscape can be a map? There is a tricky terrain here, if you'll pardon the pun. Already, we can begin to see in the maps by Braun and Hogenberg a precursor of sorts to the corporate commercials we are studying. This landscape/map appeared in a book called Civitates orbis terrarum. Indeed, we can recognize in this 'map' some crucial elements that correspond in general to an era that Immanuel Wallerstein (1980) designates as the beginning of the modern world capitalist system. These maps are described in the 'virtual' tour by the Wisconsin Historical Society as follows:

"Most of the maps are oblique or bird's-eye views depicting the roads, streets, and prominent buildings, churches, and monuments of each city. The wealth of detail in these images suggests the economic vitality of each town and the status and costume of citizens from all sectors of society. The idealized tranquility of each city belies the fact that the maps were made during violent wars of religion and independence."


Abstraction & Deterritorialization
Cultural Geography
The Architecture of Capital

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© Copyright 1998-2003
Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey