Mnemonic geography. The writing (graphic recording) of memory on a map. Wrapping a timeline around the contours of an imaginary island.



I’m leaving for England on Friday and need a map — a single project map that I can use to visualize both Weymouths together. And to use as one of the layers in a score that will eventually combine content, geography and chance operations to compose the books.

One Weymouth is on the south shore of Boston and the other on the southern coast of England, but they don’t share the same relationship to the water. In Massachussetts the water is to the north…

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but in England the water (and the island of Portland) is to the south.

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I captured Google maps of each and positioned them on top of each other by aligning the two “Weymouth” markers at their points. I’m not sure how Google locates this point but they appear in similar locations on Open Street Map’s various views, so I’m assuming it’s data-generated and not totally random.

Superimposed at equal scales and aligned at the markers, the two shorelines neatly wrap around each other to create a single Weymouths island. A section of the American town line forms the western edge, slicing through England’s Chesil Beach, and a smaller section cuts off the British island of Portland to the southeast.



The information

Andrew Wynter, The Nervous System of the Metropolis (1865) (via James Gleick, The Information, A History, A Theory, A Flood):

A great gap has just been filled up in our system of telegraphic communication. Cities can converse with cities, countries with countries, and even continents with continents; but house cannot communicate with house. We have the district telegraph, it is true, and by walking half a mile in town you may find a station which will send a message to within half a mile of its destination: but what is wanted is a system of telegraphy which shall dip its wires down into the library or warehouse — an elongation, if we may so term it, of our own nervous system, so simple in its construction that anyone can work it, so speedy that we may telegraph as quickly as we could write. We want, in short, in all large towns to abolish the messenger and district post…