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Archive for the ‘02 Why Are You Making Your Map?’ Category

Eduardo Abaroa
Proposal: We Just Need a Larger World, 2008 (detail)
Construction wire, papier maché, world map cutouts and steel pins, 130cm x 130cm x 130cm
Courtesy of the Artist and kurimanzutto gallery, Mexico City
From the Uneven Geographies Show at Nottingham Contemporary.

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Denis Wood’s 2010 book Rethinking the Power of Maps includes a discussion of exhibits devoted to maps created by artists prior to 2010. A significant number of exhibits have opened since the book was published, and Denis supplies an update below.

Map Art Exhibitions, 2010-11

Long before the emergence of critical cartography in the 1980s (at the hands of Fels and Wood, Harley, Rundstrom, Pickles, etc.), artists had been critiquing the map from every conceivable perspective. In 1929, for example, Paul Éluard edited the world map to better conform to notions of Surrealist desire; in 1943 Joaquín Torres-García turned it upside down to make it better accord with South American points of view; in 1960 Jasper Johns slathered oil paint all over the map’s pretensions to accuracy and precision; in 1966 Claes Oldenburg blew the map off the page by stuffing it with kapok; in 1969 John Baldessari literalized map type by photographing on the ground the letters C, A, L, I F, O, R, N, I, and A where they appeared on a state map; in 1971 Alighiero Boetti embroidered the map’s servitude to the state in national flags, again and again. Artists attacked the map, mocked it, contested it, made fun of it, turned it into a joke, emptied it of meaning, erased it, distorted it, reconstructed it, and in the process revealed it for what it was, a human artifact – like a magazine advertisement for Cadillac or a billboard for Luck Strikes – albeit one with legal pretensions in the domain of borders (from national borders all the way down to those of private property).

By the time the 1980s rolled around map art was a rapidly growing phenomenon. One index to this was the ever-growing numbers of group shows devoted to map art and what follows is a catalogue of the 2010-2011 map art shows that have come to our attention (thanks to the sharp eyes of Lize Mogel and kanarinka especially). We’re certain there were more and beg you to note them in the comments. We’ll make certain to update the list.

During the period Nato Thompson’s Experimental Geography exhibition continued to travel, as did Lize Mogel and Alexis Bhagat’s Atlas of Radical Cartography; and the intense activity finally drew the attention of Artnews which devoted two pages in its October, 2010 issue to map art. The piece not only covered Experimental Geography and the Atlas of Radical Cartography, but drew attention to Rebecca Solnit’s Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas. Solnit and Denis Wood appeared together at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books with her Infinite City and his Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas (with an introduction by Ira Glass). A casual survey of the data suggests that Joyce Kozloff remains the most widely exhibited map artist but, especially with the continued travelling of Experimental Geography and the Atlas of Radical Cartography, Lize Mogel and Trevor Paglen are giving her a run for the money (artists whose work is more varied would be hard to imagine).

It’s worth noting that 2010 was a banner year for map art atlases too. The publication of Everything Sings was posted here at Makingmaps.net, but Rebecca Solnit’s celebrated Infitinte City: A San Francisco Atlas also needs to be mentioned, along with another, wholly different, San Francisco-map art atlas, Tracing the Portola: A San Francisco Neighborhood Atlas from, Kate Connell and Oscar Melara. Both Tracing the Portola and Infinite City were also released as broadside posters.

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Mapping Spectral Spaces, Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Blacksburg (VA), 2010. “How have residual marks [including maps] been created, left, and remembered? How might we conceptualize these afterlives and effects of experiences, perceptions, processes, and events?” Curated by Deb Sim, the exhibition displayed the work of Chris Baeumler, Iain Biggs, Laurie Beth Clark, Gülgün Kayim, Rebecca Krinke, Mary Modeen, Mona Smith, Judith Tucker and Dane Webster. Download the 40-page, full-color catalogue at the web site.

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You Are Here: Mapping the Psychogeography of New York City, Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, 2010. This show, curated by You Are Here’s Katherine Harmon, wanted to “map the emotional terrain of the world’s most famous and influential urban center, New York City, and explore the effect of the city’s powerful moods on those who live and work here.” The show included Nicola Twilley’s Scratch ‘N Sniff NYC, Nina Katchadourian’s New York Soundtrack, Daniela Kostova and Olivia Robertson’s Anxiety Map, and Ingrid Burrington’s Loneliness Map, among others.

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Julie Mehretu: Grey Area, Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2010. “Asking what it means to be an American artist in Germany during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars of the Bush years, Mehretu’s canvases meditate on the idea of the modern ruin,” in “maplike networks” of lines evoking trade routes and shapes drawn from architectural plans, city plans, and aerial imagery. The show is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue.

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Mapping: Outside/Inside, Borowsky Gallery (Gershman Y), Philadelphia, 2010. “Four artists who use maps to bend our understanding of the outside world, including Leila Daw, Joyce Kozloff, Eve Andree Laramee, and Nikolas Schiller.” The show seems to have been curated by Schiller. No catalogue. MarieE posted shots of the show at the URL above.

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Creative Compass, Royal Geographical Society, London, 2010. Maps from the Society’s collection together with newly commissioned map art from Agnès Poitevin-Navarre and Susan Stockwell. It was accompanied by a 32-page illustrated color catalogue, with an essay by Dr Harriet Hawkins and artist interviews by Paul Goodwin. There’s a slide show at the URL above.

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Uneven Geographies, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, 2010. “Uneven Geographies considers ways contemporary art responds to the politics of globalization through the work of fourteen artists and artist-collectives from twelve countries and five continents.” The artists are: Éduardo Abaroa, Azzellini & Ressler, Yto Barrada, Ursula Biemann, Bureau d’Études, Öyvind Fahlström, Goldin + Senneby, Mark Lombardi, Steve McQueen, Cildo Meireles, George Osodi, Bruno Serralongue, Mladen Stilinović, and Yang Zhenzhong.
The 62-page catalogue is available as a download at the URL above.

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Joyce Kozloff: Navigational Triangles, DC Moore, New York, 2010. “Long before Google Maps or GPS, seafarers used navigational triangles to pinpoint their location and to chart their course in relation to celestial bodies and the earth’s poles. This exhibition comprises paintings and mixed media works that expand upon this concept and continue the artist’s longstanding engagement with cross-cultural issues.” The show also included pieces from Kozloff’s newest series, China Is Near (Charta, Milan, 2010, with an essay by Barbara Pollack).

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Mapworks: the Map as Art, Sebastopol Center for the Arts, Sebastopol (CA), 2010. Juried by Kim Anno the show included work from Michael Acker, Brian Andrews, Marla Brill, Stephanie Hamilton, Lee Millard, Michele Morehouse, Tofu S, Kathleen Yorba and others. No catalogue.

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We Don’t Record Flowers, Said the Cartographer, Bétonsalon, Paris, 2010-2011. Put together by bo-ring (Virginie Bobin and Julia Kläring), the show “takes roots in the appropriation – under various forms and for various reasons – of the desert and its images in modern and postmodern political and cultural history,” that desert, which is “whiteness ‘without qualities’ – or so it is fantasized – and is best captured with maps or planar representations. It is thus an ideal space for projection, inscription, and the forward planning of political fantasies, architectural utopias, scientific expeditions, and some of fiction’s founding narratives.” It included the work of Lara Almarcegui, Louidgi Beltrame, Ursula Biemann, Julien Blanpied, Wang Bing, Tacita Dean, Ellie Ga, Michael Höpfner, Ruth Kaaserer, Yves Mettler, Trevor Paglen, Carson Salter, le Silo, Triple Canopy et José León Cerrillo, and was accompanied by a full slate of programs. There’s plenty more at the URL above,  where you can follow the links to a catalogue site where you can assemble your own catalogue of well over a hundred pages.

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Mapping: Memory and Motion in Contemporary Art, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah (NY), 2010-2011. “In an era of global culture, artists are increasingly exploring maps as both image and cipher. Mapping: Memory and Motion in Contemporary Art features paintings, works on paper, sculptures, videos, a sound installation, and a live web terminal to address such themes as borders and boundaries, identity and colonialism, journeys – both real and imagined, memory and nostalgia, and tourism and travel.” Curated by Sarah Yanguy, the show included the work of 38 artists and was accompanied by a lovely, 52-page, full-color catalogue. You can download a teacher’s pre-visit pack at the URL above.

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Apamar. Charts, metrics and politics of space, Centre d’Arts Contemporàbies, Barcelona, 2010-2011. “The projects intersect through proposing alternatives to the representation of space, its interpretation and how to live in it,” and “In this sense, Beirut: Mapping Security by Mona Fawaz, Ahmad Gharbieh and Mona Harb, depicts the numerous types of security measures that have been established in municipal Beirut as a result of the armed conflicts the country has witnessed since the 70s. Sara Nelson Wright’s visual mapping of six individuals’ travels in Brooklyn, Locations and Dislocation, is a reflection on the effects of gentrification and urban expansion. In LRPT (La región de los pantalones tranfronterizos), the Tijuana-based collective Torolab makes visible the transnational mobility of the inhabitants of the twin cities of Tijuana and San Diego. Isaki Lacuesta and Isa Campo visit Places that do not exist, and provide us with an account of the reality of these places that have disappeared from Google earth for being protected areas. Geografie dell’Oltrecittà and Agroculture nomadi of Stalker/Primavera Romana are common design projects that generate and share social knowledge and awareness on urban changes, while Guifi.net in Catalunya, Mapeo Colectivo from Iconoclasistas in Buenos Aires, and Mapping the Commons, Athens by Hackitectura.net all spur us into participation with the aim of creating common resources.” The extraordinary show was curated by Maral Mikirditsian, Ramon Parramon and Laia Sole. There’s more at the URL above.

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Raw: Geographies, Reed College Campus, Portland, 2011. “Seeking to transform our physical, social, and individual landscapes, RAW: GEOGRAPHIES explores and reconstructs our experience of space. Entering into the emerging discourse of experimental geographers, radical cartographers, old-school land artists, unruly activists, and stodgy theorists, it resides in the interdisciplinary space of psychogeography, spatial practice, environmentalism, and architecture. A heterogeneous mix of elements that shift pre-inscribed boundaries, RAW: GEOGRAPHIES will suspend the everyday in a space for potentiality and play.” The event showcased the work of Francis Alÿs, Lize Mogel, Melvin Edwards Nelson, Jacinda Russell & Nancy Douthey, Kathy Westwater, Gary Wiseman & Gabe Flores, and Ben Wolf.

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Mapping Joy and Pain, an ongoing project, mostly U.S. (Twin Cities, MN), 2010-2011. Rebecca Krinke’s public map art project consists of a large laser-cut map of Minneapolis and St. Paul (and elsewhere) on which people are encouraged to locate their personal places of joy and pain. Not quite the Atlas of Love and Hate Bill Bunge had in mind, it’s a serious step in that direction. The map or its analogues have been widely displayed (for example, see Mapping Spectral Spaces above), but the home office, with numerous videos, downloadable pdfs, and so on, is at the URL above.

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Mappamundi, an exhibition about maps and contemporary art, Berardo Museum-Foundation, Lisbon, 2011. Another extraordinary show! Curated by Guillaume Monsaingeon, the exhibition assembled an international group of artists who, over the past 40 years, have worked on maps and who have questioned cartographical representation. included the work of Noriko Ambe, Lars Arrhenius, Neal Beggs, Alighiero Boetti, Daniel Chust Peters, De Geuzen, Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, Paola Di Beloo, Peter Fend, Jochen Gerner, Luigi Ghirri, Marco Godinho, Anawana Halba, Hong Hao, Nina Katchadourian, Chris Kenny, John Klima, Joseph Kosuth, Guillermo Kuitca, Nelson Leirner, Cristina Lucas, Mateo Mate, Satomi Matoba, Paco Mesa & Lola Marazuela, Matt Mullican, Rivane Neuenschwander, Miguel Palma, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Kathy Prendergast, Qin Ga, David Renaud, Rosana Ricalde, Susan Stockwell, Jeanne Terwen-de-Loos, Caterina Vaneetvelde, Adriana Varejao, Jessica Vaturi, Robert Walden, Jeremy Wood. See the slides at Jeremy Wood’s GPS Drawing website (above). The museum’s website is here.

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Mapping, Carroll Square Gallery, Washington, DC, 2011. The show featured the work of Carol Barton, Dahlia Elsayed, Joyce Kozloff, Siobhan Rigg, Juan Tejedor, and Renee van der Stelt.

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Lauren Rosenthal, Hand-Cut Paper, The Monmouth Museum (NJ), 2011. Rosenthal uses maps – here hand-cut paper maps of rivers and river basins – to reorient people’s thinking about rivers and our interconnectedness. Rosenthal’s river blog is here.

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The Art of Mapping, TAG Fine Arts, London, 2011. The show “celebrates cartography’s potential as an art form, rather than a science,” and included the work of Neal Beggs, Claire Brewster, Christa Dichgans, Stanley Donwood, Peter Dykhuis, Dahlia Elsayed, Rob Good, Gonkar Gyatso, Emma Johnson, Jonathan Parsons, Simon Patterson, Nigel Peake, Grayson Perry, Rob Ryan, Paula Scher, Justine Smith, Susan Stockwell, Robert Walden, Stephen Walter, Heidi Whitman, Jeremy Wood, and Cai Yuan. A color catalogue accompanied the exhibition which can be downloaded here.

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Global Cities, Model Worlds, Pittsburgh Biennial, Pittsburgh, 2011. Co-organized by the Carnegie Museum of Art, Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (PF/PCA), and The Andy Warhol Museum; and organized by Astria Suparak; the exhibition featured the work of Justseeds, Lize Mogel, Sarah Ross & Ryan Griffis, subRose, Temporary Services, and Transformazium.

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Mind the Map! Barents Spektakel, Kirkenes, Norway, 2011. “The Arctic map is changing – creating new stories, opportunities and challenges. The Arctic map is being redrawn today. Who controls the Arctic seabed? More and more stakeholders ‘update’ their claims for the Arctic pie.” Involving commissioned music, writers, and others, the Speektakel’s Pikene på Broen invited three artists to comment on these issues: Morten Traavik (Norway), Olga Kisseleva (Russia), and Stefano Cagol (Italy).

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Mapping the Surface, Central Booking, New York, 2011-2012. “Cartographers can tell us more than just the routes from one point to another, they can map terrains of landscape or psychological space, that amorphous state that adds up to a sense of a place beyond mere cataloging. They can also reduce all to the basic, the pure essence of line and plane. These artists in the next exhibition at CENTRAL BOOKING take us along such a road and beyond”: Doug Beube, Jeff Woodbury, Christina Mitrentse, Heidi Neilson, Robin Price, Cindy Kane, Dannielle Tegeder, Haptic Lab, Paula Scher, Alastair Noble Lilla LoCurto & Bill Outcault, Sabra Booth, Public Laboratory, Smudge Studio (Jamie Kruse and Elizabeth Ellsworth), Robbin Ami Silverberg, Barbara Siegel, and Elena Costelian. A catalog of Mapping the Surface is available as part of the November issue of CENTRAL BOOKING Magazine, at the URL above.

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To understand map design, and how maps work, it is useful to see how map design concepts play out on a real map.

One of the significant updates to the 2nd edition of Making Maps was the inclusion of a map of the 1986 trans-global flight of the experimental aircraft called Voyager. This map, originally designed and created by David DiBiase and I back in 1987 for David Woodward’s map design course (and in the University of Wisconsin Cartographic Lab), is repeated thirteen times in seven of the chapters, annotated to show how the concepts and ideas in these chapters play out on the map.

The repeatedly annotated Voyager map serves as an example of map design in practice, but also a guide to “reading” a map from the perspective of map design.

Martin Dodge suggested the annotated maps be available together, for instructional purposes. A good idea! So here they are. Each individual map on this page is a 800k PNG file (click for full size).

A PDF file (8.8mb) with all thirteen higher resolution TIFF images is available here.

The Voyager map project was quite a bit of fun to create back in the day. It won a map design award, was published in the book about the Voyager flight, and printed on paper as part of a promotion for the Waukesha County, Wisconsin Airport. I cannot imagine anything much more exciting than that.

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The second map in the series prefaces the initial chapter in Making Maps 2nd edition, and poses a series of questions that will be addressed in future chapters (and annotated Voyager maps):

Chapter 2, What’s Your Map For?, sets the context of the map (and of its re-creation for the book) and how such context shapes the design of the map:

Chapter 6, The Big Picture of Map Design, repeats the Voyager map five times, focusing on the key map design concepts covered in the chapter. This is where the map flips orientation south up (a controversial design choice, according to some reviewers: good! Think about why such a choice is controversial, and if it should be [or ask your students to do so]):

South is now up (so the story reads from left to right):


Annotations about map pieces including title, scale, explanatory text, legend, directional indicator, border, sources, credits, and insets & locator maps:

Annotations about visual arrangement including path, visual center, balance, symmetry, sight-lines, and grids:

Annotations about graphical excellence, based on Edward Tufte’s ideas, including complexity, detail, design variation & data variation, context, revision, non-data ink, data-ink ratio, explanatory text, editing, chartjunk & map crap, redundancy, and multivariate data:

Chapter 7, The Inner Workings of Map Design, reveals the Voyager map with no visual differences (a confusing mess of lines and type):

The map with visual differences is then annotated, with regard to key methods for establishing visual differences, including detail, edges, texture, layering, shape, size, closure, proximity, simplicity, direction, familiarity, and color:

Chapter 8, Map Generalization and Classification, annotates the Voyager map in terms of the generalization concepts of selection, dimension change, simplification, smoothing, displacement, and enhancement:

Chapter 9, Map Symbolization, annotates the map in terms of the visual variables: shape, size, color hue, color value, color intensity, and texture:

Chapter 10, Words on Maps, annotates the Voyager map with regards to typographic variables including typeface, type form, type weight, and type size:

I have a few ideas for additional annotated Voyager maps (such as a full color map) which I hope to cobble together in the future. If you have any other ideas for variations that might be useful or interesting, let me know.

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Concerns about the failing nuclear reactors in Japan and the fear of spreading radiation inspired me to share one of my favorite maps. The map shows areas in the United States crossed by two or more radioactive clouds during the era of nuclear testing (1951-1962) in the American Southwest. Click on the map for a larger version.

Richard Miller painstakingly created his map showing where humans, animals, and the environment were contaminated by radioactive fallout, broadly dispersed by weather patterns.

A sublime map, both beautiful and terrifying.

The map is also reproduced in my forthcoming book, Making Maps, 2nd Edition (due any day now).

Source: Richard Miller, “Areas crossed by two or more radioactive clouds during the era of nuclear testing in the American Southwest, 1951-62” in Under the Cloud: The Decades of Nuclear Testing (Two-Sixty Press, 1999), between chapters 4 and 5.

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From a slouching, unkempt, uncouth, shambling, horrid boy, he emerged into being a respectable, neat, tidy, order-loving, painstaking, and industrious young man.

– Miss Winthrop, 1888

I had an ugly, unruly boy in my room, and be gave me more trouble than all the rest of the class. When I inherited him I felt as if Nemesis had overtaken me, and just how to control him and secure any kind of work from him was a problem I long wrestled with.
For several weeks he was the terror of the room, and my reputation for good order and dignity was, I felt, fast disappearing. The boy would not obey unless he felt like it, and punishments had no effect on him. Every plan I evolved for the regeneration of the boy proved abortive. He wouldn’t reform. Finally, by accident, I stumbled on the cure.
I discovered that he was interested in his drawing, or rather was interested in sketching odd bits of scenery, or objects in the room, not even omitting his respected teacher, who was a typical schoolmarm and wore glasses. I resolved to make the most of this one talent – if talent it was – and so one day, when I was in my best and sweetest mood, I asked the terror if he would not draw a plan for some shelves I wanted put up in my closet. He assented, and the sketch was neatly and accurately made. There was a new look in his eyes and a new expression on his face when he gave me the paper on which his drawings were made.
Then I advanced slowly and cautiously. I needed some maps made, following a new invention of mine in cartography, and again I employed the terror, and again the result was encouraging. The maps were models of neatness and precision. I judiciously praised him, and exhibited the maps to the class.
We were studying the continent of Asia, and the terror never had his geography lesson learned; but when I suggested that if he were to keep up his reputation in drawing he must draw the details of the county he was sketching, geography became a new study to him, and he easily wade excellent progress in this branch.
The terror came out of his chrysalis state a new creature. His old ways were left, and he readily adopted the better method of doing and living. From a slouching, unkempt, uncouth, shambling, horrid boy, he emerged into being a respectable, neat, tidy, order-loving, painstaking, and industrious young man.
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Text:
  • Miss Winthrop, “A Crooked Stick Straightened,”  American Teacher, 1888 (reprinted in Scientific American, November 26, 1887, Vol. LVII., No. 22., pg. 346)
Illustrations:
  • Sighting Along the Ruler: The Youth’s Companion, August 8, 1918
  • Map of Two Brooks Farm: The Youth’s Companion, Aug 12, 1915
  • Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Asia: Lenore Congdon Schutze, Schutze’s Amusing Geography and System of Map Drawing (San Francisco, 1900)

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Denis Wood’s followup to his classic The Power of Maps (1992) is almost entirely new in content.  I have included the book’s table of contents below. A PDF copy of chapter 1 is included. This chapter argues, provocatively, “there were no maps before 1500″ – a serious challenge to our assumptions about the map as a human and historical universal.

I. Mapping

1. Maps Blossom in the Springtime of the State (PDF)

2. Unleashing the Power of the Map

3. Signs in the Service of the State

4. Making Signs Talk to Each Other

II. Counter-Mapping

5. Counter-Mapping and the Death of Cartography

6. Talking Back to the Map

7. Map Art: Stripping the Mask from the Map

8. Mapmaking, Counter-Mapping, and Map Art in the Mapping of Palestine

Buy a copy of the book here…

From the publisher: “Denis Wood shows how maps are not impartial reference objects, but rather instruments of communication, persuasion, and power. By connecting us to a reality that could not exist in the absence of maps – a world of property lines and voting rights, taxation districts and enterprise zones – they embody and project the interests of their creators.”

Nicholas Chrisman, Department of Geomatic Sciences, Université Laval, says: “Rethinking the Power of Maps sharpens the argument of Wood’s earlier work and focuses its attention on the construction of power. Every student of cartography should take notice.”
Chris Perkins of the University of Manchester says: “In an age when mapping is sexy again Wood explains why it should matter to everyone, explores how maps came to be deployed by states, and how the authority of the image is now being used by many different voices. This is a carefully developed humanist argument for a critical approach to mapping, strongly academic, but reassuringly accessible. Denis Wood’s work always challenges – the passionate style and panache of his scholarship carries the reader along and persuades us to listen to his original ideas.”

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Guide Psychogéographique de OWU (2009, med res jpg)

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During the week of June 15-19 (2009) five intrepid Ohio students and myself engaged in improvisational psychogeography, culminating in the map opening this post. A printable 11″ x 17″ (300dpi 1.4mb) PDF of the map is here.

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Picture 1

Map detail: The path taken through campus followed the outline of a wolfie hand-shadow cast on a campus map.

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Picture 2

Map detail: Stuff smelt, heard, and felt with its allure or disallure indicated with faces.

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The map was the product of a course – Mapping Weird Stuff – I offered at the OWjL (Ohio Wesleyan University Junior League of Columbus) summer camp for gifted and talented middle school students.

Based on the kid’s ideas and work collecting diverse data, I designed a layout and look for the map. The map itself was created in FreehandMX, now dead-tech thanks to Adobe (I still prefer Freehand even though I started with Illustrator back at version 1).

Making the map once again reminded me that it’s fun to make maps, if you have interesting stuff to map. The design and layout are certainly nothing one could generate with typical mapping software – thus the use of graphic illustration software. Diverse and interesting maps are not really the domain of web and pc-based map generation software. Maybe sometimes. Not usually.

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Picture 3

Map detail: An abstracted linear “map” sequencing smells, textures, and sounds from one end to the other of the path investigated.

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My vague intent was to do some kind of weird mapping project on campus – sensory mapping, psychogeography, etc. My search for resources for this age student (grades 6-8) resulted in a few finds, but not much. The materials I compiled on the course blog (here) served as the basis of our work, which developed as the students engaged the ideas. We met for 1.5 hours a day, for 5 days.

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kids

Special glasses indicate how serious we were about this project.
The
Hulk hand inspired confidence in our powers.

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The students, Django, Mallory, McKenna, Erica, and Ben, were great. They jumped into the project, came up with ideas that shaped our direction, and collected all of the data on the map. I had some ideas about what kind of psychogeography we would do, and what kind of map we would create, then it all transmogrified into something else which turned out great.

We did a dérive (“a technique of transient passage through varied ambiances”) to get a feel for the campus and its “resonances,” some blind-folded, ear-plugged tours through the campus (with me or one of the students leading the others along) collecting smells and sounds, as well as a few texture collection expeditions (inspired, in part, by Denis Wood’s Narrative Atlas of Boylan Heights project).

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Guiding much of our work was a single, inspiring Hulk hand.

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A bit of background on Psychogeography:

Psychogeography, according to its founder Guy Debord, is “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”

In practice, psychogeography inherently resists any narrow definitions. It encompasses diverse activities that raise awareness of the natural and cultural environment, is attentive to senses and emotions as they relate to place and environment, is often political and critical of the status quo, and must be both very serious and fun.

Psychogeography overlaps with Kevin Lynch’s work on mental maps, as nicely reviewed in Denis Wood’s article “Lynch Debord” as well as work on non-visual sensory-scapes (smellscape, soundscape, touchscape, tastescape, etc.).

The most famous psychogeography map is Debord’s Guide Pychogéographique de Paris:

debord-guide

Guy Debord, Guide Pychogéographique de Paris

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grassyfoot

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bomb

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When Bill Bunge mapped out the locations of car/pedestrian collisions in Detroit (Detroit Geographical Expedition, 1968) he and the map were advocating a way of thinking about what was happening to the black community in Detroit – and advocating for change.

All maps advocate.

To advocate means to “to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly.” The word derives from the Latin advocate: “to call to one’s aid.”

What map does not advocate, or argue for something? We are always calling maps to our aid.

Three free books on maps and advocacy have been made available for download recently, and are worth a look.

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Two New PDF Books [added June 6 2009]:

Good Practices in Participatory Mapping (2mb PDF here, 2009). Published by International Fund for Agricultural Development.

A review of participatory mapping methods.

This report will review existing knowledge related to participatory mapping and recent developments. Specifically:

  • Section 1 will define the main features of participatory mapping;
  • Section 2 will discuss key applications of participatory mapping;
  • Section 3 will present specific tools used in participatory mapping, including their strengths and weaknesses;
  • Section 4 will identify good practices and explore the significance of process in participatory mapping initiatives.

participatorymapping

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Toolbox & Manual: Mapping the Vulnerability of Communities (4.4mb PDF English version here, Portuguese version aqui, 2008). Published by Salzburg University Centre for Geoinformatics.

A overview of concepts and methods for community mapping, focused on vulnerability.

Within the research and project context it is aimed to provide the local communities with appropriate maps of their communities. The maps should enhance planning and decision making processes within the communities in regard to reduce local vulnerabilities and allow appropriate planning of disaster response measures. It is the first time in Mozambique that maps have been produced with such an accuracy (high resolution data) and for disaster risk management through the integration of participatory practices.

mappingvulnerability

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Visualizing Information for Advocacy: an Introduction to Information Design (7mb PDF here, January 2008). Published by Tactical Technology Collective.

Succinct, well-designed, with many good examples of maps and information graphics for advocacy.

…a manual aimed at helping NGOs and advocates strengthen their campaigns and projects through communicating vital information with greater impact. This project aims to raise awareness, introduce concepts, and promote good practice in information design – a powerful tool for advocacy, outreach, research, organization and education.

vifa1

vifa2

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Maps for Advocacy: An Introduction to Geographic Mapping Techniques (3mb PDF here, September 2008). Published by Tactical Technology Collective.

A great overview of maps and advocacy with many examples and resources.

The booklet is an effective guide to using maps in advocacy. The mapping process for advocacy is explained vividly through case studies, descriptions of procedures and methods, a review of data sources as well as a glossary of mapping terminology. Scattered through the booklet are links to websites which afford a glance at a few prolific mapping efforts.

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Field Guide for Humanitarian Mapping (3.2mb PDF here, March 2009). Published by MapAction.

A textbook for using maps and GIS in humanitarian work.  The Guide provides detailed information on data collection (GPS) and the use of Google Earth and MapWindow (free mapping software).

The guide was written to meet the need for practical, step-by-step advice for aid workers who wish to use free and open-source resources to produce maps both at field and headquarters levels. The first edition contains an introduction to the topic of GIS, followed by chapters focused on the use of two recommended free software tools: Google Earth, and MapWindow. However much of the guidance is also relevant for users of other software.

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Some related resources:

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I was moving some piles of junk in a storage room and came across a 1934 U.S. Public Works Administration book on Mississippi Valley public works projects (Report of the Mississippi Valley Committee of the Public Works Administration, October 1, 1934). The book is full of maps and other information graphics influenced by Otto Neurath, Gerd Arntz, and Marie Reidemeister’s picture language, isotype.

I always thought isotype had a great look to it.  Its context, in Vienna Circle logical positivism, is a bit wonky, and the idea that symbols – if designed carefully enough – could be “universally communicable” across all cultural and social differences, is merely the dream of those born with a peculiar neurology.  Nevertheless, the isotype “look” is cool in a retro sort of way, and it has certainly influenced the current spare design ethos in cartography.

Some annotated examples of the isotype “language” from a 1937 article by Neurath:

isotype_lang1 sotype_lang2 sotype_lang3

The Gerd Arntz Web Archive is a spectacular collection of thousands of isotype symbols designed by Arntz. All seem to be free to use. (symbols are copyrighted by Pictoright – thanks to Jonathan Hunt for pointing this out). The site also has a breif biography of Arntz.

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In casting about the internets, I was gladdened to find someone had scanned the isotype classic, Atlas of Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft (1930, 14+mb PDF).  As far as I know the atlas was printed (on sheets) in limited numbers and has never been easy to find.  Sybilla Nikolow discusses the atlas in her article “Society and Economy: An Atlas in Otto Neurath’s Pictorial Statistics from 1930.” (PDF)

A sampling of maps and graphs from the Atlas follows, and a few more useful isotype resources can be found way at the end.

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A few interesting isotype resources:

The Isotype Institute documents the history of isotype and has much useful information.

A snazzy discussion of isotype done up by mixing isotype and text is Modern Hieroglyphics. (PDF)

Ellen Lupton reviews the history and significance of isotype in her article “Reading Isotype.” (PDF)

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Neurath and the Vienna Method of Picture Statistics (PDF). A chapter out of an e-book called Speaking of Graphics An Essay on Graphicacy in Science, Technology and Business by Paul J. Lewi. Seems like a nice overview of the history of isotype and its characteristics.

The DADA Companion has much information on design and art related to isotype. Search for “isotype” or “Neurath.”

A new book to be published in April of 2009 is called The Transformer: Principles of Making Isotype Charts by Marie Neurath and Robin Kinross.

Austin Kleon’s blog on graphic design has a nice posting on isotype, comics, and information graphics design. Search the blog for other isotype references.

The web magazine Mute has a feature called The Dutch Are Weeping in Four Universal Pictorial Languages At Least that reviews a series of contemporary exhibits that focus on isotype and related ideas. One exhibit called After Neurath has a significant amount of information and links.

The New York Times summarized 2007 US and Coalition member deaths in Iraq in a isotype-esque chart (click for larger version):

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Stroom De Haag writes (in the online magazine Archined) about Neurath as the “grandfather of open source.”

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Prähistorische Karte von Südwestdeutschland und der Schweiz, 1879

(Protohistoric and Prehistoric Discoveries …)

Looking at working maps – manuscripts, field sketches, and provisional maps – reveals a diversity of symbolization and design which are lost in the monoculture of finished, standardized maps.

HistCarto brings together more than 4000 17th-19th century French manuscript maps.  All are working maps, and most are hand drawn.  Most contain signs of assessment:

These “signs of assessment” include textual commentaries or the addition of symbols, which provide some indication of the ways the maps were made or the uses to which they were put in an administrative or military capacity.

Map symbols and topics shown here include prehistoric sites, farm fields, trees and forests, rivers, hunting grounds, geology, terrain, and property parcels.

The site is in French.  Once at the site, click on the Acces a la base link on the right.  Then select Recherche (on the left) and Simple.  I tried to link each of the maps below to its page at the HistCarto site, but you must be logged into the site for the links to work.  Not optimal!  So I removed the links.  To find the maps, just search the site using the map’s title (below each map).

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Detail, farm fields near Neuhof forest (1787):

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Plan de la forêt du Neuhof

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Detail, farm fields near Poppenreuth (1795):

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Mappa Geographica Parochiae Poppenreutensis

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Detail, farm fields near Strasbourg (no date):

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Carte des environs de Strasbourg

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Detail, farm fields near Herlisheim (1760):

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Projet d’une nouvelle route entre Gambsheim et Drusenheim

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Details, trees,  Château de Karlsruhe (no date):

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Plan du château de Karlsruhe

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Detail, forests near Molsheim (no date):

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Plan de Molsheim

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Detail, forests near Mont Sainte Odile (1810):

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Les environs du Mont Sainte-Odile

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Detail, forests near Thann (1815):

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Lever à Vue de la Ville de Thann et des Montagnes qui l’environnent

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Drachenkopf Forest, detail and full map (no date):

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Forêt de Drachenkopf

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Detail, map of Strasburg (1765):

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Plan de Strasbourg en 1765

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Hunting grounds in the vicinity of Strasbourg, reserved for the king and officers (1739):

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Terrains de chasse aux environs de Strasbourg

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Revision on Geologic Map, Barr Region (no date):

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Région de Barr: Carte Géologique

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Detail, hand-drawn map of Euphrates (no date):

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The river Euphrates with the Cilician Taurus and Northern Syria

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Detail, terrain near Munster (no date):

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Carte des Vosges depuis Belfort jusqu’à Landau

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Detail, terrain on map of mining concessions near Thann and Dauendorf (1705):

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Concessions minières dans les environs de Thann et de Dauendorf

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Map showing two roads linking Wissembourg and Fischbach and a new road (in yellow) (no date):

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Deux routes reliant Fischbach et Wissembourg

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Parcels in a portion of municipal Nordheim (1782):

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Portion du communal de Nordheim

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“In the morning they come out with queer-looking eyes…”

The above map represents one ward of New York City – the Eleventh.

The saloons as put upon this map were ascertained by the reporter of the Christian Union by actual count.

The saloons are largely beer saloons: for the base of the population is German, and a large intermingling of German sounds, German signs, German wares, and German smells generally, prevail.

Pretty much all the available space, after enough room has been taken out for houses and grown people and huckster’s stands, is filled by stout, chubby, healthy-looking children – with here and there a punier waif – of all ages and sizes, mostly young and small, and of all degrees of cleanliness, from comparatively clean to superlatively dirty.

The Ward is reported by the police to be as orderly as any in the city.

The German is peculiar.  Unlike his Irish and Yankee cousins, he does not make a great noise and hurrah over his cups, and wind up with a street brawl.  He gathers unto himself a few kindred spirits, and together they wend their way to the Trink-Halle, where, in a little back room, with closed doors and drawn curtains, they guzzle beer together till none of them can see.  In the morning they come out with queer-looking eyes, but there has been no disturbance in the place.

Said a clergyman to your reporter, “I came into the ward expecting to find nothing but filth and vice.  But I could take you into hundreds of homes where you would find ease and comfort and even culture.

Balance Sheet:

  • 19 Churches and Sunday-Schools, 5 Industrial Schools, 1 Hospital
  • 346 Saloons
  • One saloon to every 200 population.

Christian Union, February 19, 1885.  PDF of entire article and map is here.

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