Wick Curiosity Shop

The Collection

Uchronian Maps




July 2015



You can download a pdf version of our Uchronian Map for Swan Wharf here

Choose a starting point for your diagram (X) and place it in the middle at the bottom of the page. All stories have a beginning, which is often arbitrary. If a site was empty, always try to take a step back to ask what used to be there? When and why did it become empty? Most pop-up space narratives presume a tabula rasa: a critical map questions any story that starts with a white sheet.

Temporary uses are first and foremost about access to land or buildings. Ask who owns the site? How long have they owned it for? What did they hope to do with the site? (what was supposed to happen) What happened to their hopes/plans? (what actually happened)

Draw the first two lines of the diagram. What was supposed to happen is marked by a lower case letter at the end of vertical line perpendicular to a given point of origin. What happened is marked by an upper case letter and appears at the end of a sideway line, generating a new point of origin.

Time is represented vertically and is marked by event lines. Event lines point at events that appear significant and capable to influence either the actual or potential unravelling of uses.

From the site expand your questioning to the neighbourhood, area and even city at large.
Ask is the site affected by zoning regulations, e.g. a conservation area? What else was happening to the area and city (e.g. the Olympic bid being won)? (event lines)

Substantial changes to land and buildings are regulated by planning authorities.
Ask what is the planning authority relevant to the site? Are there submitted, pending or approved planning applications? (what was supposed to happen) Has there been opposition to proposed plans? Have alternatives been proposed? (what could have happened).

What could have happened is marked by a lower case letter with a number at the end of (a) sideway line(s). The points suggest plausible alternatives, fictions that could have become a reality.

Temporary uses are about use.
Ask who uses the site? How did the current users negotiate access? (what happened) What made their negotiation successful? What did they want the space to become? (what was supposed to happen) Were there other individuals and groups trying to use the space? Were there divergent visions? (what could have happened).

Uchronian mapping is a research and visualization tool to disrupt the monopoly of the realised possibilities (the land of reality) by showing and discussing potential alternatives. Several plausible alternatives can exist at the same time and dotted lines suggest further developments of these alternative stories, marked by a lower case letter followed by an asterisk.