Paths and Patches - patterns of geognosy and gnosis

Alan Dix
Lancaster University

Keynote for Second Workshop on "Spaces, Spatiality and Technology", Napier University, Edinburgh, 13 & 14 December 2004
Download talk slides (PDF, 6.37M)

Full reference:
A. Dix (2004). Paths and Patches - patterns of geognosy and gnosis. In Spaces, Spatiality and Technology. Napier University Edinburgh.
See my keynote at CVE2000 Welsh Mathematician walks in Cyberspace (the cartography of cyberspace)
Read about transarticulation on my essays page (and no you shouldn't expect to find it in a dictionary yet :-)
See my pages on the nature of cyberspace (in a strange land) and information ecology.
Download talk slides (PDF, 6.37M)


In previous talks and papers I have explored the way we as humans understand the physical world. Artefacts, words and abstractions, such as maps, myths, and mathematics, all reveal something of our internal models of space. Whilst the space in which we live has many objective properties we only perceive and process certain of these – and add many social and subjective qualities of our own. In fairy tales and science fiction some of the 'real' properties are let slip yet the worlds remain comprehensible. By observing which can be lost we understand more clearly what is essential.

My own reason for studying the essential and non-essential qualities of space is to understand the construction and navigation of information spaces. However the very idea of information spaces and indeed cyberspace presupposes that spatial metaphors can make sense of information. In this talk we will explore the relationships between our understandings of physical space and conceptual spaces. From childhood memories of the backlanes on the way to school to transarticulation, the way words shape our conceptual and physical landscape, we will see that our understandings of space and of knowledge itself are similarly shaped.

This was later published as a book chapter:
A. Dix (2009).
Paths and Patches: Patterns of Geonosy and Gnosis. Chapter 1 in Exploration of Space, Technology, and Spatiality: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, P. Turner, S. Turner, and E. Davenport (eds), Information Science Reference, ISBN: 978-1-60566-020-2. pp. 1-16
chapter @ IGI | abstract and draft chapter

Alan Dix 23/11/2004