Places & Spaces My Library

My Library – Mapping It Out

August 28, 2014

Another gem as part of my library series.

Maps, yay! A subject close to my heart and a never-ending fascination with what they can be and how they can be interpreted differently. So, when I heard that Mapping it Out – An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies was being published by the wonderful Thames & Hudson, I couldn’t have been more excited. Unfortunately I had missed the Serpentine Gallery’s Map Marathon event in 2010 (which this book has been inspired by).

In an effort to rethink what maps can do for us in the twenty-first century, Hans Ulrich Obrist invited a remarkable range of 130 leading figures from different fields – artists, designers, writers, scientists, architects, and thinkers to create maps, of interior or exterior worlds, real or imagined, in any medium. Can you imagine my delight? Of course you can!

Mapping it Out shows us so many different approaches.From plans to plots, blueprints and drawings, instructions and lists. You’ll find mind maps, concept maps and fantasy maps. There is a multitude of inventive ways how to ‘map’ something and if you’re at all interested in the evolution of what ‘maps’ can be, this is a book for you. It was difficult to choose from so many amazing entries. Here are just a few to wet your appetite.

Mapping it Out - colourliving
Mapping it Out – the cover

I love Kevin Kelly’s map of the internet. It’s simple, yet evokes a warm and inviting three dimensional aspect. What would your map of the internet look like?

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Joan Enriquez & Rodrigo Martinez challenge that “if beliefs and institutions don’t adapt and adopt as the environment changes” they too, like religions go extinct. Their map illustrates “some of the speciation that occurred with three of the world’s great religions after originating from a common Abrahamic belief.”

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Suzanne Lacy decided to do a project in prostitution in 1974. At that time, there was little knowledge of the lives of prostitutes. Here we see the early sketches of that research, recorded on brown paper. The whole project resulted in: “The journey took me across LA in three dimensions: the sociology and fabric of relationships, the geography and specific places where prostitution occurs, and my own psychological terrain”

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Prostitution Notes, 1974

One of my favourite entries in the book (not only because of the luscious colours) is Mariana Castillo Deball & Amalia Pica’s map, entitled ‘Figures don’t lie but liars can figure’. It states: ‘the first Jigsaw puzzles were made from Maps. Interesting! I love how this map makes me have to analyse my own interpretation. Is it a map? You answer!

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Mapping it Out - colourliving
Mariana Castillo Deball & Amalia Pica – Figures don’t lie but liars can figure, 2012

I’ve had this book for nearly 2 months and dip in and out of it nearly daily. So much inspiration and thought-provoking entries. Just fab! A real gem firmly ensconced in my library. Happy weekend!

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  • Reply Mel September 1, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Great concept and I’ve never thought about maps like that, something that changes and should continue with the times. Happy September Tina xx

    • Reply tina September 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      Happy September and welcome to Spring. You’ve been waiting for it for a long time.

      Yes, a little obsessed with maps. “Maps produce new realities much as they seek to document current ones.
      Maps always go beyond the space-time of the present.”

      Thanks Mel xx

  • Reply Catherine@farmhousehome September 1, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Another fascinating book from your library Tina. I love that you dip in and out of it nearly daily. Btw don’t know if you remember but the book you recommended to me recently has been fabulous, I’ve found it extremely helpful. xx

    • Reply tina September 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Hmmm, have to think now because I recommend books all the time. Give me a clue on DM… happy you liked it anyhow xx

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey September 1, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    This is quite a unique concept and way of thinking about and framing maps. And that Mariana Castillo Deball & Amalia Pica ‘map’ is bizarre. I wouldn’t look at it and immediately think ‘map’. And I’ve looked at it a few times… still figuring it out 🙂

    Thanks Tina. Gx

    • Reply tina September 1, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      The Book is fascinating and I’m kicking myself for missing the exhibition back in 2010. I guess I wasn’t yet obsessed with maps:-)

      I love how in the modern world we’re re-framing what maps are.. a subject close to my heart.
      You’re right, most of them don’t immediately suggest ‘maps’ and that’s what fascinates me.
      The Mariana Castillo Deball & Amalia Pica map was an inspiration for me in a recent project.

      Let me know when you’ve figured it out xx

  • Reply Doris September 14, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Oh I am really beginning to admire and love cartography so this book is so interesting to me. I found the notes from Suzanne Lacy were so interesting to read where her journey extended beyond just maps and into other elements of social dimensions. xD

    • Reply tina September 22, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      I absolutely love this book. It’s a treasure trove of interesting facts and a visual beauty. Can well recommend it!
      I also really liked Suzanne Lacy’s account of her journey. Fascinating! x

  • Reply mapology guides - the birth colourliving November 3, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    […] I’m obsessed with them, are still seen as mostly geographical. With the help of books like  Mapping It Out, this is slowly but surely changing. The act of map making can reveal a lot about all kinds of […]

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