Sunday, June 04, 2006

Art & Mapping

The Moveable Feast
A map of weekly gatherings that travel from restaurant to restaurant throughout the Twin Cities, so people can meet to eat, talk and build community.
Kali Nikitas, Richard Shelton

The North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) has released a special issue of their journal, Cartographic Perspectives:

Art and Mapping
Issue 53, Winter 2006
Edited by Denis Wood and John Krygier
Price: $25

The issue includes articles by kanarinka, Denis Wood, Dalia Varanka and John Krygier, and an extensive catalogue of map artists compiled by Denis Wood. See abstracts below.

Twin Cities Odorama: A Smell Map of Minneodorous and Scent Paul
Olfactory experiences emanating from the intersections of people, enterprise and physical environments.
Becky Yust, Lindsay Shen, James Boyd-Brent, Carol Waldron

Map Art
Denis Wood

Artists make maps. Inspired by maps made by the Surrealists, by the Situationists, by Pop Artists, and especially by Conceptualists of every stripe, artists in increasing numbers have taken up the map as an expressive medium. In an age less and less enamored of traditional forms of representation – and increasingly critical – maps have numerous attractions for artists. Beyond their formal continuities, maps and paintings are both communicative, that is, constructs intended to affect behavior. As the energy of painting has been dispersed over the past half century into earth art, conceptual art, installation art, performance art, video art, cyber art, and so on, it has dispersed the map as a subject along with it. The irresistible tug maps exert on artists arises from the map’s mask of neutral objectivity, from its mask of unauthored dispassion. Artists either strip this mask off the map, or fail to put one on. In either case artists simultaneously point to the mask worn by the map, while they enter unmasked into the very discourse of the map. In so doing map artists are erasing the line cartographers have tried to draw between their form of graphic communication (maps) and others (drawings, paintings, and so on). In this way map artists are reclaiming the map as a discourse function for people in general. The flourishing of map art signals the imminent demise of the map as a privileged form of communication. The map is dead! Long live the map!

MSP Grain: An Urban-Agrarian-Urban Digest
The economic-geography of grain — production, transportation, storage, transactions and foodstuffs, from grain elevators and flour mills to fortune-cookie factories.
Robert Adams, Dawn Gilpin, Chad Kloepfer

Interpreting Map Art with a Perspective Learned from J.M. Blaut
Dalia Varanka

Map art has been mentioned only briefly in geographic or cartographic literature, and has been analyzed almost entirely at the interpretive level. This paper attempts to define and evaluate the cartographic value of contemporary map-like art by placing the body of work as a whole in the theoretical concepts proposed by J.M. Blaut and his colleagues about mapping as a cognitive and cultural universal. This paper discusses how map art resembles mapping characteristics similar to those observed empirically in very young children as described in the publications of Blaut and others. The theory proposes that these early mapping skills are later structured and refined by their social context and practice. Diverse cultural contexts account for the varieties, types, and degrees of mapping behavior documented with time and geographic place. The dynamics of early mapping are compared to mapping techniques employed by artists. The discipline of fine art serves as the context surrounding map artists and their work. My visual analysis, research about the art and the artists, and interviews with artists and curators form the basis of my interpretation of these works within varied and multiple contexts of late 20th century map art.

Growing Together: the Twin Cities Community in Gardens
The culture and agriculture of diverse neighborhoods and their community gardens as places for meeting and building community.
Wendy Fernstrum, Chris Faust, Mike Tincher

Art-Machines, Body-Ovens and Map-Recipes: Entries for a Psychogeographic Dictionary

A map is more than a picture, but what are artists doing about it? “Mapping” has exploded as an artistic practice. Artists are making geographic maps, psychogeographic maps, sound maps, demographic maps, data-driven maps, and emotional maps. Artists are performing maps—enacting and documenting location like never before. With the advent of new media art, GIS and mobile technologies, the concern with data collection and mapping through locative media is pursued with both romance and criticality. This article presents a dictionary of terms and projects that demonstrate the variety and complexity of these map-art practices. These projects utilize the map in a political and social dimension to produce new configurations of space, subjectivity and power. Their methodology is based on an ethics of experimentation; the map is a tool to experiment with a particular territory in specific ways in order to reach unforeseen destinations.

Artists and projects discussed include: Alex Villar, Brian DeRosia, Bureau D’Etudes, Cheryl l’Hirondelle, Glowlab, iKatun, Institute for Applied Autonomy, Institute for Infinitely Small Things, John Osorio-Buck & Matthew Ward, Lee Walton, María Bogadóttir and Malene Rordam, Mobilivre-Bookmobile, Natalie Loveless, Nomads+Residents, Shih-Chieh Huang, Sifting the Inner Belt & spurse.

Ethni-Cities: A Cultural Calendar of Immigrant Community Festivals
A Knowledge Map and accompanying website of ethnic community festivals, revealing the enrichment of Twin Cities culture by immigrants from Mexico, Iran, Laos and Ethiopia.
Malini Srivastava, Zoe Adler-Resnik, Meena Natarajan, Pramila Vasudevan

Jake Barton’s Performance Maps: An Essay (PDF)
John Krygier

Jake Barton, a New York-based designer, creates public maps that generate social interaction, personal expression, and collaborative storytelling. Barton’s work is centered on performance, drawing attention to the performative capacity of maps, a seldom-explored facet of cartographic design and theory. Examples of Barton’s projects, realized and unrealized, are detailed, with a focus on the manner in which maps are designed to evoke performance.

50 Sound Stories + 466 Decibel Readings: A Sound Map and Audio CD
An audio map of the Twin Cities that charts citywide decibel levels and collects residents' sonic stories of the city.
Rachel Hutton, Rachel Thompson, Jonathon Zorn, Alissa Clark, Rob Giampietro

Catalogue of Map Artists
Compiled by Denis Wood

This catalogue is largely based on the contents of ten map art exhibitions, as well as on a handful of books that deal with a significant number of map art pieces. Though it is without question the most extensive catalogue of map artists so far published, it makes no pretense of being complete. Its role is to document the fact that a lot of artists work with maps, and to provide a foundation for the work that remains to be done. The artists have been arranged alphabetically. Where we have been able to determine these, we have provided, in parentheses, where the artist lives/works now or predominantly (in any event, not the place of birth or nationality), followed by the date of birth (and where appropriate, death). There is a brief description of artist’s work, followed by a key to the sources. These are listed at the end of the catalogue. Only the lightest culling has been attempted, but artists working today with but a single known piece of map art in their oeuvre have been less likely to be included than those with many or than those artists of the relative past whose work may have influenced the work of those active today.

Write Your Own City: A Palimpsest of Personal Geographies
A map that charts personal journeys and favorite spaces as recorded by users of PDPal, a new piece of custom map-making software for handheld organizers, commissioned separately by the Walker Art Center.
Scott Paterson, Marina Zurkow, Julian Bleeker


Send a check for $25 (US) for the special issue of Cartographic
Perspectives on Art & Mapping (Number 53, Winter 2006) to NACIS.
Payment includes 1st class postage.

Mail check to:

PO Box 399
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0399 USA

Include "for Art & Mapping, CP 53, Winter 2006" on check. Also
include your name, mailing address, and email address. Outside of US:
you may use a credit card. Please contact Susan Peschel:

Divining the Twin Cities: Physical Journeys, Spiritual Places
A map of places and sites for personal renewal, spiritual transformation and respite from the world of consumption.
James Boyd-Brent, Thomas Fisher, Kristofer Layon, Virajita Singh

Experiments with Territories: Post Cartographic Map Design

Sessions organized for the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting, March 7-11 2006, Chicago Illinois

IMAGES > University of Minnesota > Design Institute > Twin Cities Knowledge Maps