Cinema as Deep Map: Patience (After Sebald) and cinematic cartography

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 11.27.25 PM
Screenshot from documentary by Grant Gee (2011)

“Mapping Out Patience: Cinema, Cartography and W.G. Sebald,” an essay by Taien Ng-Chan, was first presented at the 26th International Cartographic Conference in Dresden, Germany, in 2013, and was published recently in the journal Humanities, in a special “Deep Mapping” issue edited by Les Roberts. As described in the abstract: “cinematic cartography can be an especially powerful tool for deep mapping, as it can convey the narratives, emotions, memories and histories, as well as the locations and geography that are associated with a place. This is evident in the documentary film Patience (After Sebald) by Grant Gee, which follows in the footsteps of W.G. Sebald and his walking tour of Suffolk, England, as described in his book The Rings of Saturn. A variety of strategies in cinematic cartography are used quite consciously in Gee’s exploration of space, place and story.” It can be downloaded at

Other papers in this very interesting special issue include “Mapping Deeply” by Denis Wood, “The Rhythm of Non-Places: Marooning the Embodied Self in Depthless Space” by Les Roberts, and “Regular Routes: Deep Mapping a Performative Counterpractice for the Daily Commute” by Laura Bissell and David Overend. Full details are here:


Colloque Temps, art & cartographie

bandeau1If you are interested in the relationships between Maps, Art and Time (and if you speak French…) this might be a great event to attend: Colloque “Temps, art & cartographie: La sémiologie dans tous les sens”. This colloquy will take at the University of Strasbourg (France) on March 16-18, 2016. Deadline for submitting abstracts: Oct. 31, 2015.

Screening “Unmappable” in Rio

Poster_Unmappable_MDMD_Rio2015The Art & Cartography commission will be pretty active at the 27th International Cartographic Conference in Rio. We are organizing A workshop entitled Mapping Ephemeralities / Ephemeral Cartographies (Aug. 21-22, 2015) +  a few paper sessions + our commission meeting on August 25th (17:20 to 18:30) + a film screening.

Indeed, following a tradition started in 2009, this year we will be screening “Unmappable” a 20 min. documentary directed by Diane Hodson and Jasmine Luoma, that presents an original perspective on the life of the most famous (and controversial) contemporary critical cartographer: Denis Wood. This “thought-provoking and disturbing” documentary (as described by Wired) has received several awards in film festivals. This screening will be preceded by the world premiere of a short collective film entitled “Let’s get lost.” This “cartomentary” is about the secret development of a multimentional mapping device designed to map fictional places…

Both movies will be screened during a special event that will take place at the 27th ICC in Rio on Wed. Aug. 26th from 12:30 – 13:30 (room: Plenary 1). This should be a great event!

Mapping Ephemeralities – Program

logo_icc2015Mapping Ephemeralities / Ephemeral Cartographies – Workshop organized by the International Cartographic Association (ICA) Commissions on Maps and Society & Art and Cartography (Rio de Janeiro, August 21-22, 2015)

The goal of this workshop is to provide an intellectual and creative space to share different ideas and methodologies about mapping evanescent elements such as memories, stories, sensations and perceptions about places, as well as a practical environment to learn how some of these methodologies and technologies can be used and adapted for designing (online) maps of ephemeral phenomenon. This workshop combines academic and artistic presentations with ephemeral data collection activities. One objective of this workshop is to use these data to design an ephemeral online collectively-made map of the ephemeralities of the Maracana neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. The workshop will take place at the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro) in the auditorium of the cultural department building.

UPDATE: If you are interested in the outcomes and details of this workshop, please visit the workshop’s dedicated website:

‘Mapping Budapest’ Residency

Jessica_DolbyJessica Dolby is an artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and she creates intricately detailed drawings / maps as an investigation and exploration of walking, place and site. In Spring 2015, she plans to visit Hungary to further develop her ideas at the arts organisation MÜSZi, under the project heading ‘Mapping Budapest /ˈBuːdəpɛst\’. By using psychogeography as a tool, Jessica ‘drifts’ around urban environments, creating psychological maps in response to the city. Using her technique of mapping and ‘psychocartography’ to engage with the city and people of Budapest, she hopes to explore this new city, create a new body of work and engage others in talks and workshops.

To fund this research and development residency, and to contribute to the running costs of MÜSZi, Jessica has begun a Kickstarter campaign. This involves those backing her in various ways, and pledgers can receive dedicated drawings installed in the streets of Budapest, bespoke mailing lists and limited edition artworks. Those willing to contribute to the project can do so here:

Physical Map Projection Mapped

Projection mapping offers exciting opportunities to animate and alter our perceptions of a physical space through light. More often the physical space projected on to is buildings with mesmeric light sequences and often contextual narratives.

Image © 2015 Dalziel and Pow

Much like Louis Daguerre & Charles Bouton achieved a sense of movement through altering the play of light on a large transparent screen with the Diorama in 1822, projection mapping can create this immersive and moving scene onto any 3d object or screen. Through altering the play of light with large amounts of lumens generated by today’s digital projectors, artists and designers can become the theatrical painters without being limited to dark purpose built venues and opaque or translucent paints, instead projections can be achieved in other lighting situations with custom built screens & pixels.

Dalziel + Pow have moved the play of light onto a physical map where they experiment with different narratives using the terrain of Berlin to abstract and segment their sense of movement. I like the idea that with this being an indoor permanent installation the growth and development of the narratives can evolve and change from the projection mapping unlike many projection mapping spectacles that are single events. It is exciting from a data visualisation point of view to see how they could experiment with this, ‘expect to see dynamic data and live online feeds added in the near future.’ (Dalziel and Pow, 2015).

Dynamic data could be live narratives from geotextual tweets, visual iconography of weather, real time data of subway, air or live visuals with imagery of scenery, architecture that are geotagged within the framed boundaries of the physical map then abstracting into their segments in a realtime collaborative cartophoto-montage.

Primark Berlin: Projection Mapping Project from Dalziel and Pow on Vimeo.

It is exciting to see how this art form will evolve with physical cartographic representations and their inter-play with light immersing us through digital mappings.

See also for projection mapping onto moving physical objects much more aligned to the spectacle characteristics of the Diorama. Or even see this

Mapping Ephemeralities


Workshop organized by the International Cartographic Association (ICA) Commissions on Maps and Society & Art and Cartography

 Evanescent elements such as memories, stories, sensations and perceptions are just as much a part of places as more physical and tangible objects such as streets, buildings, landmarks, and topography. These evanescent elements contribute to our personal and collective relationships to places but as ephemeralities, they are difficult to identify, collect and map. Cartographers have begun to acknowledge the importance of such non-material elements in the mapping of places, though often it is through artistic practices that ephemeral mappings have been explored. Meanwhile, the idea of “locative” media serves to connect location with site-specific art or narrative that in turn helps one be more aware of the multiple dimensions of the immediate environment. With growing interest in ephemeral mapping and locative media comes the need for research and dialogue about some of the issues raised by both the collection of ephemeralities and their appropriate mapping. The goal of this workshop is to provide an intellectual and creative space to share different ideas and methodologies about mapping ephemeralities, as well as a practical environment to learn how some of these methodologies and technologies can be used and adapted for designing (online) maps of ephemeral phenomenon.

This workshop aims to bring together artists, scholars and students from cartography, geography, the humanities and the arts who are interested in exploring further the relationships between maps and ephemeral dimensions of places. We would like to invite participants interested in discussing and debating any type of relationship between maps and ephemeralities including:

  • The theoretical underpinning of mapping ephemeralities;
  • The methodologies developed in arts, sciences and the humanities for collecting ephemeral and non-material phenomenon associated with places (e.g. memories, perceptions, smells, sounds, emotions);
  • The technological and practical aspects of mapping ephemeralities;
  • The social and political implications of mapping ephemeral phenomenon and designing ephemeral maps;

The workshop will be hosted by the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro located in Maracanã neighborhood. We also hope to involve the participants into some ephemeralities data collection activities and to use these data to design an online collectively-made evanescent map of the ephemeralities of the Maracana neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.

Submission process and important dates

To participate to the workshop, each participant must submit a proposal describing her/his project by December 15th, 2014 (max. 500 words) to Chris Perkins (, Laurene Vaughan ( and Sébastien Caquard ( who will share them with the other members of the scientific committee: Jörn Seemann and Taien Ng-Chan. The workshop will be free of charge, but the participants will have to pay for their food and lodging (a list will be provided on the 27th International Cartographic Conference website:


  • November 10, 2014 – Call for Participants;
  • December 15, 2014 – Deadline for submitting abstracts (max. 500 words);
  • January 31, 2015 – Successful Applicants notified;
  • March 31, 2015 – Final program released;
  • 21-22 August 2015 – Workshop prior to the ICC 2015.


Note: The deadline to submit a paper to the main International Cartographic Conference is Nov. 15, 2014 (

The edited collection “Piani sul mondo” (“Plans on the World”), reviewed by Tania Rossetto

cover-piani-mondo-bVery interesting review (in English) of “Piani sul mondo” (“Plans on the World”) an edited collection in Italian that looks more specifically at maps emerging from literature rather than at maps of literature as emphasized by Tania Rossetto the author of the review. This collection contributes to the extensive academic literature published recently on literary geography and mapping ( A taxonomy of the multiple relationships between maps and literature has also been developed by Ryan (2003) and discussed by Rossetto in another paper (2014) and a new open-access academic journal entitled “Literary Geographies” has been recently launched ( Definitely a very active area of research…

Guglielmi, Marina and Giulio Iacoli (eds) 2013 Piani sul mondo. Le mappe nell’immaginazione letteraria, reviewed by Tania Rossetto.

Ryan, M.-L. (2003) Cognitive Maps and the Construction of Narrative Space, In Herman, D. (ed.), Narrative Theory and the Cognitive Sciences, Stanford, CA, Publications of the Center for the Study of Language and Information, pp. 214–242.

Rossetto T, 2014, “Theorizing maps with literature” Progress in Human Geography 38 513-30

Mapping Shakespeare’s Othello

Additional background information is shown / Collected and written by Tom Cheesman

This map is part of a research project initiated and super­vised by Tom Cheesman at Swansea University in collab­or­a­tion with Kevin Flanagan and Studio NAND. Over the course of nearly two years, Tom has collected over 50 trans­la­tions and adapt­a­tions of Othello into German driven by the idea to analyse and compare them in order to find traces and patterns that reveal cultural, histor­ical and social fluc­tu­ations.

[…] a first proto­type called Version Variation Visualisation in which we helped building a set of visu­al­isa­tion tools for an exem­plary corpus of 37 German trans­la­tions of Othello (Act 1, Scene 3) in collab­or­a­tion with Kevin Flannagan andSebastian Sadowski.

A beautiful clean design to the map reminiscent of the Stamen Maps Toner maps, it is a great blend of data visualisation, literature and cartography. Differentiating between Books & Scripts the dates on the interactive web based map highlights details of the writers and where that text might have been written, rewritten, published. The creators state this is just a beginning and will no doubt grow, reminds me of Literature Atlas.


Travel by Approximation

tba-selects2Jenny 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.”