Finding Yourself in Maps
In the northern hemisphere, maps of the world are always shown with north on top. We take this projection as a given. However, as a planet floating in the middle of the universe, this is only one possible representation. What does this representation value? How is that shown? What does this map say about how we see our place in the world? How do we understand this place differently if we look at it from different perspectives? Does it change the way that we see ourselves, others, and places in the world if we look at a map that puts the southern hemisphere on top?
What happens to our perception and our understanding of ourselves in relation to the world when we look at other projections? What are these maps valuing and how do they show that?
Dymaxion Projection by Buckminster Fuller
-Peirce Quincuncial Projection
What if we think about maps as a way to portray information other than just physical geography? What happens if they portray population? Or how much a place is covered on the news? Does it change the way we see these different places or where we fit in the world?
Population projection map by viewsoftheworld.net
Look at these different maps. What do they value? How do they show what they value? Do they make you see anything in a new way? What do they include or disclude? What kind of rhetoric do they use? How do they contribute to the larger conversation of discourse about place and society? How do they effect you, as a reader of the map?
D.W. Kellog, The Open Country of Woman’s Heart c circa 1833-1842
Ingrid Dabringer, Oh! Canada
Now think about what you value. If you were to make a map that represented you, what would it look like? What would you include and what would you leave out? Which sections would be giant continents and which would be small towns? Would you put borders? Where? Which areas would be juxtaposed and which would be far apart? How would you represent yourself in map form?
Contributed by: Jaclyn Bergamino, 2013
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