24 hours Tattoo Mapping Performance

Another fascinating mapping project: Deeply personal and highly political. Artists Wafaa Bilal (who’s brother Haji was killed by a missile in Iraq in 2004)

turns his own body – in a 24-hour live performance — into a canvas, his back tattooed with a borderless map of Iraq covered with one dot for each Iraqi and American casualty near the cities where they fell. The 5,000 dead American soldiers are represented by red dots (permanent visible ink), and the 100,000 Iraqi casualties are represented by dots of green UV ink, seemingly invisible unless under black light. During the performance people from all walks of life read off the names of the dead.

According to infosthetics.com:

Kyle McDonald designed the visualization for this remarkable tattoo, which contains more than 4.000 US soldiers in red ink, and more than 100.000 “invisible” civilians depicted in ultraviolet ink.The process of visualizing the data involved a lot of research, including reconciling plain text descriptions containing GIS place names, warping the geographic coordinates to design for the landscape of the back, and distributing the deaths in an organic but respectful way.

Thanks Tracey for pointing us to this project.

Synchronous Objects for “One Flat Thing”…

…reproduced by William Forsythe, is a project about visualizing choreographic  (can I say geographic?) information in new ways. Could choreography and Dance be used to research about Movement, Space and Visualization? Can Cartography and other mapping artifacts be used to help choreographers’ creativity and work?


Coproduced by The Forsythe Company with the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design and the Department of Dance at The Ohio State University. Synchronous Objects reveals the interlocking systems of organization in William Forsythe’s ensemble dance One Flat Thing, reproduced through a series of objects that work in harmony to explore its choreographic structures and reimagine what else they might look like. Here!

Nous ne notons pas les fleurs

Tintin Wulia is a contemporary artist doing fascinating cartographic performance. Her more recent work “Nous ne notons pas les fleurs” was inspired by the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery in Le Petit Prince. In this performance she explores ephemerity through the creation of a large map of India with flowers. This performance was developed during a brief residency at Khoj International Workshop in Patna, India.

Another fascinating performance is “Terra Incognita, et cetera.” It was developed since early 2009 and have since been exhibited at Bus Gallery, Melbourne, and Centraal Museum, Utrecht (the exhibition there is closing today, 10 January 2009). In this performance the audience is asked to claim some pieces of territories on a large map based on the Bucky Fuller’s Dymaxion projection. Beautiful and stimulating.

As described by the artist:

The best part about it is, there will be little cocktail-sized white flags lying around, and you will be able to write your names on those flags, then stick it on whichever blood speck you want on the map.

At the end of the day, I will transfer the names written on the flag next to the corresponding blood specks in the passport-books. And so the names written next to the blood in the passport-books will change daily.

All this process will be recorded somehow, and shown immediately perhaps. Hm. Surveillance camera?

I’ll keep thinking.

Special Issue on Art & Cartography

Our special issue on Art & Cartography has just been published by The Cartographic Journal. If you are interested in the interaction between art & cartography, you should definitely take a look at the table of content.

As discussed in the editorial piece, in this special issue,

“The interactions between art and cartography is explored through different artistic disciplines: contemporary art – including visual art and performance art -, architecture, literature, new media art and cinema.(…)

Putting together this special issue has generated some unusual and interesting collaborations between artists and cartographers. We hope these links that have been established will serve as the foundations for further interdisciplinary research, development and the realization of new interpretations of geography. The preparatory work in developing this special issue was also as much challenging as it was thought provoking. (…) Much still remains to be done, and exploring the relationships between art and cartography should continue to stimulate new utopian as well as hyper-realistic ways of looking at the world and at its complexity.”

The heart of the U.S. beats in Washington D.C.

Map by Amy Martin

Found (by Tracey Lauriault) on Cartophilia and on the Washington Post this beautful piece of art. With this map, Amy Martin won the Public Option Please art contest and captures in such an elegant manner the importance of publicly-funded health insurance program in the United States. “A healthy United States is dependent on healthy American citizens — which is why I presented America as a vulnerable living system.”

Atlases win the 2009 Rotterdam Design Prize

We are happy to know that this year’s Rotterdam Design Prize has gone to the Studio Joost Grootens for their work in different atlases. They do really look good. Congratulations!

Joost Grootens Kan Atlas

Joost Grootens Kan Atlas

At 5.00 p.m. on Sunday 29 November in the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen pavilion, Peter van Ingen, chairman of the international panel of judges, announced the winner of the 2009 Rotterdam Design Prize.
The judges unanimously described Grootens’s work as of the moment and world class. They liked his attitude. ‘Grootens attaches great importance to the clarity of the information. His design is clearly intended to serve the reader. For Grootens, designing is not a self-seeking activity, nor does it mean promulgating a particular vision. The result is at once brilliant and functional.’

Art & Cartography activities at the ICC 2009

The working group (WG) on Art and Cartography was pretty active at the International Cartographic Association Conference in Santiago (Chile) last week. We had our Working group meeting (Attendance: 19 people); a movie screening: A historical review of maps in film edited by Giacomo Andreucci & Virtual globes were born in cinema : A century of envisioning dynamic maps in movies edited by Sébastien Caquard (Attendance: About 100 people); and two paper sessions:  8 papers (Very well attended: up to 110 people). And we were present until the end of the conference as you can see on this picture…

We are looking forward to the next ICC: Paris 2011.