The first cartographic grid was invented by Ptolemy, who superimposed over the world as he knew it a system of coordinates formed of a series of meridians and parallels. This system, however, was far from exact; indeed, it was some two thousand years before the meridians were accurately measured for the first time. More specifically, the achievements of Delambre and Méchain in the 1790s unlocked many of the cartographic grid’s inherent problems. Their work also succeeded in making three spheres, until then separate, enter into contact: the air (astronomical), the earth (geographical) and the building (architectural).
Gabriela Garcia de Cortazar
‘The bomb does not take a precise path when finding its target’, Jörg Friedrich once observed, ‘so the target becomes whatever the bomb can find – a city’. What happened to the grid during the Second World War? Exploring the frames by which we understand the spaces above and below our heads, it is possible to examine the uses and alterations of the grid during this era. Ultimately one could show how, through cartography, the grid was used as a weapon to generate catastrophe, and how, through bombing, it even became the object of the catastrophe itself.