The Power of Disembodied Imagination: Perspective’s Role in Cartography
By Ken Hillis
Cartographica, Vol.31:3 (1994)
Abstract: In almost opposite fashion to medieval maps, perspective technique helps in imagining how the human body conceptually might be set aside by the painter/viewer/discoverer/subject. This would allow a disembodied visual imagination to extend its point of view across a world cartographically laid out in advance. Bird’s-eye-view plans are an intermediate hinge between perspective and cartography that help condition early modern vision, and generate the speculative confidence needed for world discovery. The grid articulates distances, making great expanse manageable in advance, and legitimizes or embodies an imagined “reality” not yet found.