As part of Public Knowledge, this monthly series casts SFMOMA as a venue for discussing public issues. Mapping makes the city legible. But who makes maps? And for whom? Join Shannon Mattern and David Rumsey for a conversation moderated by Jon Christensen on the deep history, current controversies, and fraught future of mapping the city.
Jon Christensen (moderator) is an adjunct assistant professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, the Department of History, and the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a founder of the Laboratory for Environmental Narrative Strategies at UCLA. Christensen’s work involves collaborative research that examines how technology and humanities ideas can intersect in the real world. He is a partner in San Francisco–based Stamen Design, winner of a 2017 National Design Award, and an advising scholar for Public Knowledge.
Shannon Mattern is an associate professor of media studies at The New School. She is the author of three books: The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities; Deep Mapping the Media City; and Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: 5000 Years of Urban Media, published in November 2017. She also contributes a regular column for Places, an open-access journal focusing on architecture, urbanism, and landscape. You can find her at wordsinspace.net.
David Rumsey is the founder of the David Rumsey Map Collection, president of Cartography Associates, and chairman of Luna Imaging. Rumsey’s collection of historical maps numbers over 150,000 and is one of the largest in the United States. His free website davidrumsey.com has over 80,000 high-resolution map images. In 2009, Rumsey committed to donating his physical and digital map collections to Stanford University, which opened the David Rumsey Map Center in 2016.
Public Knowledge is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library. The project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Activities in the Koret Education Center are generously supported by the Koret Foundation.