Wednesday, August 21, 2013

POSTCARD PROJECT #21: "World Atlas"

I like maps.  I despise maps.

I like them for the ways they try to make sense of the world, which is impossible (but it's so important to think is possible).

I also really like subversive maps, or as these guys call them, subversive cartographies. One of my favorite maps is this one:

In fact, I taped this map up in the room I taught in one semester.  It got a lot of double-takes from students, and provoked a lot of good conversations.  I remember one student who could not even locate the United States using this map; he was that disoriented, which is the whole point.  Not completely sure that had a great effect on my course evaluations, however.

Maps can be empowering, because they give the makers a certain amount of control (even if it is only imaginary).  The map above would be a good example of empowerment for people in the Southern Hemisphere, for example; not so much for North American students.  But often, it's a case of map or be mapped.  You know:  if you don't do the mapping, the colonizers will do it for you - but doesn't that mean you are helping to colonize yourselves?  The quandaries!

So I bought some map postcards and will be playing around with them for awhile, I'm sure.  After all, my first book of poems was called Indian Cartography, and I'm pretty sure I'm not done with THAT mapping at all.

#21:  "World Atlas"

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