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.”

Colloquy “Cartographier les récits”

Some of the participants of the Colloquy on "Cartographier les récits"

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…


Special issue of CAJ on Cartography and Narrative

Table_of_ContentThe 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).”

Finally this special issue also include a linking essay by Denis Wood in which the author

“…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: Animated maps at their best

MotorvilleMotorville 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.

Run an Empire Game

 A smartphone game where you compete against others to capture territory in your local environment.

Run An Empire is a game where players compete to capture and maintain control of as much of their local territory as possible. To capture somewhere you have to run (or jog, or walk) around it.

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.

Map Art by Ed Fairburn


Astonishing Map Art by Ed Fairburn

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.

(James McBride about Ed Fairburns work)

MDMD – An experimental short-film on cartography

MDMDThe idea of producing a short film on cartography and narrative started in June 2012 during a workshop in ETH Zurich, and is now shaping up nicely. Artists and filmmakers have been working in collaboration with Barbara Piatti and others and have just released the trailer for this experimental short-film.

The project is a mockumentary suggesting a secret research in the dark dungeons of ETH Zurich. One of Switzerlands most important cartographers, Prof Ed Imhof went out for an expedition into the Peruvian Andes, to measure some mountains. However, during his excursion an event unforeseen must have occurred and he started to question the role of cartography for the people…

To learn more about this amazing cartographic story, WATCH THE TRAILER

Appel à communication “Cartographie et récits”, Montréal, 12-13 mai 2014

This colloquy is organised by the art and cartography commission. All the presentations and discussions will be in French since it is part of the “Association canadienne-française pour l’avancement des sciences.” For questions, please contact

Cartographier les récits : enjeux méthodologiques et technologiques

82e congrès de l’ACFAS, Université Concordia, Montréal (QC) / 12-13 mai 2014

Colloque organisé par Sébastien Caquard (Université Concordia) et Thierry Joliveau (Université J. Monnet de Saint-Etienne)

Appel à communications

Depuis les travaux fondateurs de Franco Moretti (1999) en cartographie littéraire, il est apparu possible de cartographier des objets aussi porteurs de subjectivité que des personnages de roman. De la carte du Tendre que Madeleine de Scudéry adjoint à son roman en 1654 au Discours sur les passions de l’amour qui sous-titre le Guide psychogéographique de Paris de Guy Debord en 1957, on repère une nécessité de cartographier des affects et des sentiments, d’organiser spatialement des récits personnels, qu’ils soient fictionnels ou non. L’apparition des outils numériques et les moyens de géolocalisation semblent changer techniquement la donne. L’engouement pour les activités dites néogéographiques s’est accompagné de la mise à disposition d’un nombre croissant d’applications sur Internet spécialement dédiées à la cartographie des récits (ex.;; Un  internaute peut désormais recourir à ces outils pour spatialiser toutes sortes de récits qu’ils soient fictionnels ou documentaire, individuels ou collectifs, présents ou passés, anecdotiques ou symboliques. Un premier examen des récits cartographiques produits avec ces outils confirme l’inadaptation de la cartographie conventionnelle (numérique ou non) pour représenter les dimensions sensibles des récits. La projection sur un fond topographique et le respect de l’espace euclidien apparaissent souvent réducteurs. De nombreux auteurs proposent donc de se tourner vers des modes d’expressions cartographiques alternatifs, souvent inspirés de pratiques artistiques, pour représenter les dimensions émotionnelles, politiques et sociales de certains récits.

L’objectif de ce colloque est de permettre aux chercheurs en sciences sociales, aux artistes, journalistes ou communicants intéressés par la cartographie des récits de prendre connaissance des récents développements technologiques, conceptuels et méthodologiques qui ont émergé depuis quelques années dans ce domaine. Ces présentations de projets et retours d’expériences seront accompagnés d’échanges et de discussions visant à apporter des éléments de réponses à certaines des questions auxquelles est actuellement confrontée la cartographie des récits. Quels sont les atouts et limites des approches numériques pour une cartographie du sensible ? Les nouveaux capteurs permettant l’enregistrement automatique et objectif d’éléments de récits ouvrent-ils un espace à une expression personnelle des affects et de l’émotion ? Quelles sont les potentialités offertes par les approches cartographiques artistiques ? Comment jongler cartographiquement entre un espace abstrait et imaginaire et un espace concret et topographique ? C’est autour de ces questions méthodologiques, technologiques et conceptuelles que nous proposons de structurer ce colloque.

Soumission des propositions de communications :

Ce colloque est ouvert aux chercheurs, étudiants, artistes et professionnels intéressés à présenter leurs travaux relatifs à la cartographie des récits. Toutes les personnes intéressées sont invitées à soumettre un résumé (500 mots maximum) décrivant clairement le projet. La date limite de soumission des résumés est le 31 janvier 2014. Les résumés doivent être envoyés par courriel aux deux co-organisateurs du colloque : et

Note : une version courte des résumés retenus devra être envoyée par la suite pour être intégrée dans le programme officiel du colloque.


  • 23 Décembre 2013 : Diffusion de l’appel à communication
  • 31 janvier 2014 : Date limite de soumission des résumés par les participants
  • 15 février : Notification de l’acceptation (ou non) des propositions soumises
  • 20 février : Soumission des versions courtes des résumés (1,500 caractères, espaces inclus) par les participants
  • 28 février : Soumission du programme complet du colloque par les organisateurs
  • 12-13 mai : Tenu du colloque (note : le colloque se tiendra sur un ou deux jours dépendamment du nombre de communications retenues).

N’hésitez pas à nous contacter si vous avez besoin d’informations complémentaires.


Thierry Joliveau et Sébastien Caquard