Corner’s “Tracings” Read Against the Dérive

Corner asks us to consider the difference between a “map” and the “tracing that is entirely oriented toward an experimentation in contact with the real.” This is particularly relevant to our derive assignment- during our dérive, I was surprised after the fact by how impeded I felt in many situations, how strongly I sometimes wanted to resist going past a certain barrier to enter a space without a “purpose,” almost like a fear of being found in a place with no purpose or directive. Corner tells us that “mapping [is] equal to what is and what is not yet…Unlike tracings, which propagate redundancies, mappings discover new worlds within past and present ones.” This leads me the wonder whether our daily experience of cities familiar to us are reproduced as tracings, as if we have laid a map in our minds of what directives or purposes certain places may be associated with, and they then become a backdrop for our tracing. How does the derive fit into our daily experience of tracing, then? What are the layers of form making within the city which reinforce a habit of “tracing” over “mapping” or “dériving?” As we attempt to remain “conscious of the essentially fictional status of maps and the power they possess for construing and constructing worlds,” is there a new exploration of mapping which can encourage the city to be experienced as a dérive, or does the constant information influx of the city make it necessary for us to begin to trace?