Strange Loop

Sept 30 - Oct 2, 2021


Union Station


St. Louis, MO

Register for 2021!

Mapping Imaginary Cities

While the map is not the territory (to quote the semantician Alfred Korzybski), the map is still usually intended to correspond to one. But what about maps of nowhere at all? What can they represent and how can they be made?

Maps are a familiar part of daily life, with a deeply familiar and complex symbolic language, and a long history. They are also hugely varied in style and aesthetic, and often are works of art unto themselves. All this makes mapping a powerful creative tool for conveying ideas about a space, how it is used, and who inhabits it. But it also presents a mapmaker with what can feel like an overwhelming array of design choices and technical hurdles to overcome in order to create a generative map.

This talk will explore maps as a way to communicate about people and place in the context of fictional cities, and dive into algorithms and techniques for procedurally generating maps by building up topography, landscape, populations, and street plans.

Mouse Reeve

Mouse Reeve

Internet Archive

Mouse is a software engineer at the Internet Archive and a recent Recurse Center alumna. She has a background in anthropology and mathematics, once created a social network where no one is allowed to use the letter e, and is a passionate dabbler in vegan patisserie, bicycling, and historical texts on the occult. She cares about nonsense very deeply.