Stamen Design reinvents cartographic design

If you love the functionalities of online mapping services such as OpenStreetMap and Google Map, but you are fed up with their graphic design, the company Stamen Design has developed something for you: three background maps that you can use to render your own OpenStreetMap mashup. These three maps are: (1) Toner, a sharp high-contrast black and white that reminds me futuristic urban planning maps; (2) the more conventional Terrain which looks more like a shaded relief; (3) and the beautiful watercolor (my favorite) which is described as follows: “Reminiscent of hand drawn maps, our watercolor maps apply raster effect area washes and organic edges over a paper texture to add warm pop to any map.” Since these maps use Open Source data (from OpenStreetMap) and are licenced under a creative commons licence, it would not be surprising to see them (and others) more and more frequently on the web, which would be great!

David Maisel – Photography

I bumped into the work of David Maisel thanks to the exhibition called Subverted, in the Ivorypress art gallery in Madrid (until 14th April). Wonderful big photographs, many of them related to cartography and map making.

Image

David Maisel. Terminal Mirage 5

In David Maisel’s website can be read: “Maisel’s aerial images of environmentally impacted sites explore the aesthetics and politics of open pit mines, clear-cut forests, and zones of water reclamation, framing the issues of contemporary landscape with equal measures of documentation and metaphor.”

Don’t miss The Mining Project (1987- 2007), Oblivion (2004 – 2006), Terminal Mirage (2003 – 2005), The Lake Project (2001 – 2002), The Forest (1985 – 1986) and Mount Saint Helens (1983 – 1984).

 

 

Special Issue about “Cartographies of Fictional Worlds”

The quarterly published Journal “The Cartographic Journal” is this time (Volume 48, Number 4, November 2011) dedicated to the Geography of Literature. This volume was guest-edited by Barbara Piatti (literary studies) and Lorenz Hurni (cartography) and gives an impressive overview and insights into exiting interdisciplinary projects.

»A literary-geographical reading can change our
understanding – not only of books, but of the world we
live in. It creates knowledge. Through literary geography,
we learn more about the production of places, their
historical layers, their meanings, functions and symbolic
values. If places emerge from a combination of real
elements and fictional accounts, then literary geography
and literary cartography can work as a very effective eyeopener.«

Barbara Piatti and Lorenz Hurni: Editorial, pp.218-223

»This special issue of the Cartographic Journal on
‘Cartographies of Fictional Worlds’ is made up of fascinating
stories, exotic places, original concepts, and a series of
media that ranges from artistic collages to high tech
geospatial applications. This diversity demonstrates
the enthusiasm that prevails within literary cartography,
as well as the complex relationships that exist between maps,
narratives and places.«

»These examples provide a conceptual, methodological
and practical base that can serve to engage in the development
of original and relevant ways of merging the conceptual space
of the map with the experiential places of the narratives.«

Sébastien Caquard: Conclusive Remarks, pp.224/225

Have a look at 8 exciting papers at:
The Cartographic Journal

Mathematical Mountains

I strongly recommend to have a look to these Mathematical Mountains discovered in this webpage,  But Does it Float. About them, their creator, Steven Brunton explains:

These images are excerpts from the bifurcation diagrams of various one-dimensional maps (…). Each of these dynamical systems model various physical phenomena in the real world. For example, the logistic map is a crude model of population dynamics with reproduction and limited resources, and it is often used as an example of the period-doubling route to chaos. Typical of chaotic systems, many regions in these figures exhibit self-similarity and reflect the order that emerges outof chaos.

These images were generated numerically by iterating the discrete-time maps above as a bifurcation parameter is varied. The bifurcation parameter is plotted as the y-axis (elevation), and at each elevation, the stratified layer represents the attracting set of the dynamical system for that particular choice of bifurcation parameter. Bifurcation refers to a qualitative change in the behavior or topology of a dynamical system as a parameter is varied.

Mona Hatoum – 3D Maps

Recently the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, bought a work of Mona Hatoum, interesting Lebanese artist raised in UK. This artist is multifaceted in the sense that she has worked a variety of disciplines including installation, sculpture and performance. Maps have been widely used in different formats in many of her workpieces. Just type in Google Maps Mona Hatoum to check it out.

(From wikipedia) Mona Hatoum (born 1952 in Beirut, Lebanon) is a video artist and installation artist of Palestinian origin, who lives in London. Mona Hatoum was born in Beirut, Lebanon to Palestinian parents in 1952. Although born in Lebanon, Hatoum does not identify as Lebanese. “Although I was born in Lebanon, my family is Palestinian. And like the majority of Palestinians who became exiles in Lebanon after 1948, they were never able to obtain Lebanese identity cards.”

Lately I’ve liked these maps called “3D Cities”: Regular ordinance survey maps, their two-dimension modified by a number of geometrical cuts forming paper depressions and elevations. We do not know what they signify, although we can guess that these are probably localized spots of violence.

Mona Hatoum 3d Maps

Image from http://personal-geographies.blogspot.com

Here you are a video by Tate Britain, “Mona Hatoum, studio visit.”

Alighiero Boetti: Mappa


Until February 5th, the Museo Reina Sofía of Madrid, exhibits a great collection of works by Alighiero Boetti (1940 – 1994), an Italian conceptual artist, considered to be a member of the art movement Arte Povera. Many of his pieces are maps embroidered by artisans in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a result of a collaborative process leaving the design to the geopolitical realities of the time, and the choice of colours to the artisans responsible for the embroidery.

From wikipedia: “For me the work of the embroidered Mappa is the maximum of beauty. For that work I did nothing, chose nothing, in the sense that: the world is made as it is, not as I designed it, the flags are those that exist, and I did not design them; in short I did absolutely nothing; when the basic idea, the concept, emerges everything else requires no choosing.” Alighiero e Boetti, 1974

That’s why the sea is painted in red, pink or yellow; while they were doing their work, the artisans didn’t know what meant the area with no-assigned-colour. Although as it has been said by the expert in Boetti with whom I have visited the exhibition, they even didn’t know the meaning of the whole image.

Boetti was a conceptual artist, but his work is also visually rich and joyful. Being a coproduction, after Museo Reina Sofía, the exhibition will travel to the Tate Modern and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Highly recommended.

http://www.museoreinasofia.es/exposiciones/actuales/boetti_en.html

The Art of Mapping exhibit

London is really the place where maps and artists get along quite well those days, as illustrated by the current exhibit on “The Art of Mapping” at the TAG Fine Art gallery. Through the work of more than 20 artists, this exhibit provides another evidence of the rich and complex relationships that visual artists have been developping with maps in the recent years. The exhibit is nicely presented in its companion booklet, introduced by a short text written by Katharine Harmon. So it really seems that this is THE place to visit this November, which has been confirmed by Bill Cartwright who had the chance to see it and who was really impressed by its quality.

The Art of Mapping exhibit takes place at the TAG Fine Art gallery in London (14 – 26 November 2011) and also includes some artists talks.