I am obsessed with maps. I love the notion that space and our memory of it can be transferred to something that is tangible and accessible. That said, it was necessary that I post about the recent buzz I’ve noticed around the politics of cartography. There was a recent article in the New York Times on map makers and the influence that they allow politics to have over their craft. Cartography is an inherently political art, as it has to heed the changes in government that decide borders and topography.
Furthering this point, (and making further buzz) One Piece just highlighted Nova Rico, an Italian cartography company, whose co-director said “the problems of cartography are the same that exist in diplomatic relations.”
Recently, we wrote about a series of cartograms and the impact they can have as activist tools. The Institute for Infinitely Small Things did a study of the Maine coast called 42 or 363 Definitions of Cartography wherein they explored the “existence of a complex dynamic historical relation between communities, both human and otherwise, that cross from land to sea and back [that] is at risk of being lost.” Cartography is a powerful, conceptual, but largely unexplored activist tool.