Performing Mimetic Mapping: A Non-Visualisable Map of the Suzhou River Area of Shanghai


  • Anastasia Karandinou
  • Leonidas Koutsoumpos



This paper questions issues concerning the mapping of experience, through the concept of mimesis – the creative re-performance of the site experience onto the map. The place mapped is the Suzhou River area, a significant part of Shanghai, the former boundary between the British and American Settlements, and an ever-changing and transforming territory. Through the detailed description of the mapping processes, we analyse the position of this particular map within contemporary discourse about mapping. Here, we question the purpose of the process, the desired outcome, the consciousness of the significance of each step/event, and the possible significance of the final traces that the mapping leaves behind. Although after the mapping had been carried out, the procedure was analysed, post-rationalised, and justified through its partial documentation (as part of an educational process), this paper questions the way and the reason for these practices (the post-rationalising of the mapping activity, justifying the strategy, etc.), and their possible meaning, purpose, demand or context. Thus we conclude that the subject matter is not the final outcome of an object or ‘map’; there is no final map to be exhibited. What this paper brings forth is the mapping as an event, an action performed by the embodied experience of the actual place and by the trans-local materiality of the tools and elements involved in the process of its making.

Author Biographies

Anastasia Karandinou

Anastasia Karandinou is a registered Architect-Engineer, a graduate of the National Technical University of Athens, Greece. Currently she is a Ph.D. student (funded by the AHRC council) and a design tutor at the University of Edinburgh, where she also obtained an M.Sc. in Advanced Architectural Design. She has participated in architectural competitions such as the UIA-Velux international competition ‘Light of Tomorrow’ (3rd prize), and the ARCO design competition (distinction). She has also taken part in exhibitions such as the Biennale in Barcelona (March 2006 where she exhibited an architectural landscape project), and the 5th PanHellenic Exhibition of Architecture in Patras, Greece, in October 2006. Her doctoral thesis explores issues such as the sensuous, the electronic or hybrid, and the political aspects of space, as to what forms the ‘immaterial’ within contemporary architectural discourse.

Leonidas Koutsoumpos

Leonidas Koutsoumpos is a registered Architect-Engineer, a graduate of the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, where he also received a postgraduate degree in theory and philosophy of architecture. He has been practicing architecture in Greece, both as a member of architectural offices, and with his own projects. Being awarded a fellowship by the Greek State Scholarships Foundation, he is currently completing his doctoral degree in Architecture at the School of Arts, Culture and Environment at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. His research explores architectural design education in terms of ethics, through philosophy and ethnomethodology and he has also been working as a design tutor, both in Athens as well as in Edinburgh.