Geographical maps are rooted in Cartesian thought. This inevitably limits their heuristic value, especially in their ability to capture movement. In the context of present-day reality, marked by a society in constant flux, these limitations render traditional geographical maps increasingly less satisfactory. On the basis of this premise, and aiming to explore alternatives to the rationalist approach and to Euclidean geometry, I shall present a review – not all encompassing, to be sure, but sufficiently extensive – of the different graphic approaches to the rendition of movement in the history of graphic representation of space. Throughout the 19th Century, the search for solutions for the joint representation of space and time remained bound to positivistic standards. In the early 20th Century, Einstein’s theory of relativity and the notion of space-time shook the previously held Newtonian concept of absolute space, triggering a reflection concerning the gap between the conventional definition of space, based strictly on what is visible, and a broader interpretation of human experience. This resulted in concrete attempts at introducing new representative modalities for the space-time relationship, not limited to what is seen by the human eye. The scope of these transformations was such that, transcending science, a new perception of time and space swept society, finding expression in the work of avant-garde artists and writers. The personal dimension found its way into geographical representations, drawing them somewhat closer to the medieval notion of symbolic space, an idea that Renaissance cartography had eradicated, and replaced with a mathematical, logical concept of space. These highly innovative space-time representations were therefore forms of reaction to the positivistic outlook, reclaiming an autonomous space for man and for the creative human spirit that rises above the narrow limits of positive science. A number of original approaches to the problem of the graphic representation of the space-time relationship thus emerged. These were isolated attempts, often lacking a body of established rules and standards, and inevitably foreign to the evolution of official cartography, but nevertheless worthy of reconsideration at the present time, in which the rationalist model of cartography finds itself in crisis.
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