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Past & Future

This illustrated way of understanding the world found its roots in the 13th century.

Previously, the territory was understood according to its past, according to the important milestones that defined its history and identity. However, since the High Middle ages “the world” (limited to only Europe) has been represented looking toward the future.

New ways of imagining space appear. Cartography creates maps for exploration where wind paths and geographic scales are redesigned with a new purpose: efficiency, not memory. Representation is at service of the mercantile company and its expectations for the future. 

Accounting also changes at this moment. The business world is not only just memory. Opposite to to the records that attest what has been administered, new methods such as double entry bookkeeping now appear, which, like maps, look for the most efficient routes, in this case of money.

This perspective of look towards the future continues today. As the unsustainability of our way of living becomes evident, a part of accounting calculates the routes of our habits by measuring, for example, the carbon footprint.

The contrast between the world by Ebstorf map (reconstruction provided by researchers from the University of Leuphana, Germany) and the portolan by Albino de Canepa (James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota) shows the different ways of conceiving space and the operational changes in the transit of Media and Modern times.