Marvellous Maps 14. Mapping Dreams


It might seem an impossibility, along the same lines as ‘weaving mist’, but many valiant efforts have been made to map the myriad tangled threads of a multi-levelled dream journey.

The maps are an attempt to attach transient time, place, memory, association and/or emotion to a  line or mark made by a pen.

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Marvellous Maps 12. Mind Maps


Our brain is mapping the world. Often that map is distorted, but it’s a map with constant immediate sensory input.
~E. O. Wilson

‘Mind Mapping’ is promoted as a brain-friendly way of mapping or noting our otherwise disordered thoughts and weaves of free-association, memories and magpied information drawn from countless, unattributable sources.

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Marvellous Maps 11. Memory Maps

All maps ‘map’ memories and no map tells the truth.

All maps are fictions, abstractions, simplification and all begin as a seed in someone’s imagination. These facts don’t in any way diminish the value or potential of mapping as a means of capturing the fleeting essence of memories. In fact maps provide a useful symbolic framework in which to explore both belonging and identity. They facilitate way-finding and re-visiting and memory.

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Marvellous Maps 10. Mapping Inspiration

Whilst maps mark the ‘where we are’, the ‘where we’ve been’, perhaps even the ‘where we’re going’; maps are also powerfully expressive and aesthetic.

They are beautiful.

Artists have used the characteristics of maps in a bewildering array of creative ways. They’ve used the content of maps and the colour of maps; they’ve used maps as starting points and maps as disruptions or distractions, challenges to be overcome when image making. They’ve uses maps as tone, as light and dark, and as texture…

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Marvellous Maps 9. Zoomorphic Maps

Previous posts in the ‘Marvellous Maps’ series have celebrated the fact that map are constantly being re-imagined in different ways and for different audiences. Some of the most inventive maps are zoomorphic and portray countries and continents as animals. Zoomorphic derives from the Greek ζωον (zōon), meaning animal, and μορφη (morphē), meaning shape or form.

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Marvellous Maps 8. ‘Anthropomorphic Maps’

Imagine a map of the world, each country rising from the surface, growing arms and legs, and walking about. Each country free from its ties to Cartesian flatland, beginning to converse with its neighbors, stretching out, bickering, laughing. The landscape shifting. Taking the shape of a large and clumsy bear, Russia lumbers, pawing at the horizon. The other countries, some of them in the shape of kings and commanders, others as dogs and octopi, watch and brace themselves. This, is the curious world of anthropomorphic maps…

Anthropomorphic maps are maps depicting countries, landscapes or landmarks in humanised forms. Instead of illustrating the world in terms of physical geography, anthropomorphic maps use human stereotypes to assert nationalism or jingoism, or make a political statement, or portray national characteristics. They are maps made human. And are not, at times, for the faint-hearted…

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