Mapping it out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies

On one level we might not think that maps need redesigning. They’re entirely purposeful, and in many cases rather nice to look at.

Mapping it out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies, as its title suggests, ignores this assumption and makes us think what else maps might do.

Serpentine curator and editor of the book Hans Ulrich Obrist has asked designers, artists, architects, geographers, scientists to rethink the map.

Contributors include David Adjaye, Tim Berners-Lee, Anish Kapoor, Damien Hirst, and Matthew Barney.

Each contributor has given quite a nuanced response, often trying to define what a map means to them, and as such, some of these maps are more conceptual interpretations of information and others more literal.

Plans, blue prints, fantasy maps, maps of the mind, and infographics are all set out beautifully in the volume, which has been designed by Daniel Streat at Barnbrook.

In the opening Redrawn Territories chapter we see old maps, which have been directly repurposed to present a different view. This is on the understanding that each map is bound by the agenda of its creators but equally it can be altered ‘to reflect different priorities, hierarchies, experiences, points of view and destinations’.

There are other chapters devoted to Charting Human Life, Scienta Naturalis, Invented Worlds, and a final section where The Unmappable has been mapped.

Mapping it Out – An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies is published by Thames and Hudson, priced £24.95.

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