Jenny Odell is an artist from the Bay Area (USA) that travels via satellites and Google Street View. In her work “Travel by Approximation” she proposes a
“virtual road trip across the United States via Google Street View, Yelp, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon, InsiderPages, CitySearch, YouTube, Virtual Tourist, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, and countless other forums, blogs, user maps and 360-degree tours. For one year–almost two virtual months—I transported myself into one place after another, both by writing a travel narrative and by using Photoshop to integrate myself into photos I found online.”
The result was turned into an installation and a book that tells the story of her virtual journey illustrated by many photos and screen captures of Google Street View in which she appearances extensively. This virtual journey seems even more interesting than the real one. As she points out:
“Pages 97-98, in which I brave the tourist-masses of the Grand Canyon. In the first page, I’m encountering a guy who claims (on TripAdvisor) that “the thing with the Grand Canyon is… once you’ve seen it, well, you’ve seen it.” (Those are his bored kids in the photos.) On the next page are user photos all geotagged at the same exact spot on Google Maps, a lookout point just off the main road.”
Some of the participants of the Colloquy on “Cartographier les récits”
Last May, the Art & Cartography commission organized a colloquy in Montreal within the context of the 82nd acfas conference (Association francophone pour le savoir). During this two days event (May 12-13, 2014), 25 students, professors and researchers from geography, cartography, literature, sociology and anthropology got together to discuss (in French) issues around mapping different kinds of stories such as historical stories, everyday life stories, stories of refugees, stories from films and from novels. The title of the colloquy was “Cartographier les récits : enjeux méthodologiques et technologiques” (full program available here). The presentations and discussions were very stimulating and will be continued…
The special issue of The Cartographic journal on “Cartography and Narratives” is now available online. This Special Issue provides a cartographic point of view on the relationships between cartography and narratives. As stated in the introduction (Caquard and Cartwright 2014, 102):
“This cartographic point of view is envisioned from two perspectives. The first is where maps are used to represent the spatial structures of stories. Cartographic projects associated with this approach use maps to locate elements from all types of stories (i.e. fictional or factual). In this special issue, this category is illustrated by papers that address the mapping of oral indigenous stories (Wickens Pearce), the cartographic representation of fictional places that appear in novels (Weber-Reuschel, Piatti and Hurni) and the mapping of a tragic event with deep emotional dimensions (Roberts). The second perspective refers to the narrative power of the map. In this special issue the narrative emerges from the mining of geolocated photographs (Straumann, Çöltekin and Andrienko), as well as from the critical analysis of alternative atlases (Cattoor and Perkins).”
“…was not only able to handle the impossible task of stitching together the various stimulating ideas developed in all of these papers, but he turned them into a great academic story about childhood, ideas, concepts, memory and nostalgia.” (Caquard and Cartwright 2014, 105)
Motorville is short animated movie (directed by Patrick Jean) in which the main character is an online map (that looks very much like a Google map, although according to the credits it is based on OpenStreetMaps) that turns into a giant in search for its oil fix… This is an extremely well designed animated film in which the intimate (and frightening) relationships between online mapping services and our car/oil addiction is brought to the fore in a clever, poetic and penetrating manner. Thanks to Florence Troin for pointing me to this great movie.
A smartphone game where you compete against others to capture territory in your local environment.
The game uses your neighbourhood as an arena for play.
I love this idea of having games in maps, using the local environment to control territory is great. User actions could move beyond just walking to own a territory, could be leaving things at places digitally like geocache’s. This really is the gaming layer on top of the real world.
Ed Fairburn is a Welsh artist, based in Cardiff, whose ability to combine the geography of our facial features with the geography of the earth leads to a startling and compelling synthesis of the two. Fairburn has become known in Europe for his evocative portraits, which produce complex human features from the apparently random patterns found in mundane topographical and astrological maps.
In many ways, we are living a golden age of map making, with interactive, richly textured electronic mapping technologies giving us unprecedented, real time detail. But it is also good to be reminded that, despite the benefits of this Google-era hyperliterality, there is a broader beauty to be found in the ways we visualize our common spaces. Maps can speak to much more than how to get from one place to another.