Ernst Neufert’s famed Bauentwurfslehre (BEL in short, in English known as Architect’s Data), ranks among the most influential guides shaping the modern built environment of – at least – the 20st century. Launched in 1936, the book features a unique compilation of useful need-to-know spatial dimensions, technical and organizational standards, and templates for building. With it you could design anything from a dog shed to an airport, or at least have your basics in place. In 2022 its 43rd updated edition was published.
Official maps are instruments of power, benefitting some while impoverishing others. Inscribed in the law, they fortify the territorial interests of a select few. This is especially apparent in places where the pressures of resource extraction collide with land claims by disenfranchised indigenous groups. In Papua, where capital-rich mining and logging operations rule, local groups are attempting to stem the tide of environmental destruction by creating their own maps; counter-maps that demonstrate ancestral domain. The third week of The Writings on the Wall opens with Nabil Ahmed exploring how to fight a map with a map.