Such interventions are known colloquially as “trap streets,” a collective term for cartographic fictions with the intent to deter copyists. And, as noted, they may not all be streets: any geographic alteration can be used, from the fabrication of a remote nonexistent town to the mislabeling of the elevation of a mountain range. The existence of such doctored locations is routinely denied in public statements by publishers, even when acknowledged in closed legal proceedings, and so the Ordnance Survey’s denials should be viewed with a certain circumspection.…And so what happens when these false places are overlaid on real ones through acquisition or aggregation or intention, algorithmic or otherwise? Ultimately, it is possible to peer through the layers of data and geography to see vistas that should not be possible. “The Sky on Trap Street” is a small online project collecting the views above trap streets in Google Maps. Using Google Street View, it is possible to find the closest real location to a trap street and look up at the correct angle to catch a glimpse of the sky—white fluffy clouds, slightly distorted, besmirched by JPEG artifacts like old salt-water stains—over an imaginary place. These places exist not as physical locations but as accumulations of data, of imagery, of files in file systems somewhere, accessible to the imagination if not to the pedestrian. What “The Sky on Trap Street” does is to hollow out a space for the imagination in a digital environment originally defined for legal, corporate purposes—a nonspace reverted to human use.
This is one hapless squirrel that paid me a visit. I’ve got double-glazed windows, and it was hiding between the blinds when I closed the windows. After a while I noticed that there’s something funky going on — a live rodent! It took me two days to get rid of it ‘cos the poor guy didn’t know how to climb a concrete wall back to the window. Only after I hanged a towel from the window frame this squirrel managed to get out of civilization and back to the nature.