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October 6, 2010 / Kuan

I have read: The Grid Book

The pattern of the rug, the window frames, the arrangement of the drawers, the post-its on the board, the lights are the ceiling… I looked around and found nothing but grid.

As Hannah Higgins puts it, grids “are not physically flat, nor are they experientially flat, nor are they dimensionally pure” (276). In The Grid Book, Higgins offers an in-depth view of what grid really is, how it evolves and how it intertwines with science to form the basis of our world.

It isn’t a book about the technique of grid usage in design, as I thought it was when I picked up the book. Instead, it belongs more to the social science category in the library, as it introduces grid as a way of thinking of our everyday life. I took a class last semester in African politics, in which I read African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design by Ron Eglash. It’s a nice feeling to find previous knowledge echoes with what I’m learning today. In Eglash’s book, he talks about fractals, which Higgins describes precisely as “the immerse application of the grid” (269). The intersection of grid and fractal leads to the way of seeing the world as interconnected grids, “a kind of authoritarianism of the form” (275).

We breathe in and out gird, we are immersed in it.

Higgins takes a look at the grid from a historical perspective, from the bricks of 5000 B.C. to maps at 120 C.E., to network in the 19070s, giving a comprehensive, vivid life span of grids. The book is informative, but very easy to read. If you’re interested in looking at the theories of grids, this is the book to read. But for visual addicts, maybe not so much.


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