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Friday, July 01, 2005

more metaphors + musings

So many interesting metaphors here...I think a lot could be pushed further and made into maps/systems of representation. Some related musings:

What about somehow combining the two music metaphors that came up today? At Borders, Marcela mapped a cross section a city street onto a staff, changing pitches and note lengths to correspond to different heights and lengths. Back at the office, we likened rooftops to percussion instruments based on what kinds of sounds arise when wind and precipitation hit them (linked to materials). Combining the vertical analysis and the horizontal metaphor, we would have both a score and performers. Perhaps we could overlay the two to come up with different sound bytes to represent different streets or parts of the city.

I also really like the rooftops as islands metaphor because I think it speaks to the visceral (and thrilling) "apartness" you feel when on a roof. So another direction I might go in, research-wise, would be to look at tectonics and land formation. Continental crust, which sits much higher than oceanic crust (obviously), is also much thicker and extends much deeper into the earth. It's depth (or, rather, the subsurface mass that creates that depth) must equal the mass of whatever is protruding, so what you have under islands and land masses is this massive root (think of a molar, maybe). Thus, one way to explore rooftops would be to map out the magnitude of whatever "roots" support certain types and heights of rooftops. This could be the amount of downward force different rooftops exert (which, as with land masses, would be a function of height, volume, and material properties); how deep their foundations must extend (a whole other topography); how much energy it takes for a human to reach the roof, etc.

Or, pushing the roots metaphor farther, what about rooftops as treetops? I like that because it brings in the concept of an could San Francisco's network of rooftops become a complex ecosystem like tropical rainforests' canopies?

So sorry this got so long...writing really got me thinking!

- Emily


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