Jump to content

 
Photo

Beautiful Maps?

- - - - -

  • Please log in to reply
20 replies to this topic

#16
MapMedia

MapMedia

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,029 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Davis, California
  • United States

First off, what are maps? To me a map is an analogy; from an old dictionary definition of the word 'an agreement, likeness, or proportion between the relations of things to one another...'.

Maps have shapes, points, lines and polygons, which have to be honest. Part of the art (if art it is) comes from how styles are applied to the shapes and by how the text, labelling and furniture is selected and placed. The shapes of course can not be altered in the interests of appearance and this imposes necessary constraints on the map maker, who's job it is to use his skills to make the map tell a story in the simplest way possible. I think it is inevitable that a map which tells its story well will also be attractive to the eye, but this, in my opinion, would not make it art. Maps are things of purpose and good ones can be interesting and appealing, but not art I think.

Now I'm in trouble.

Regards, N.


I like what you said Nick. There can be 'art' in the design, but if art is a pure expression and maps are function first, then a map can not be a pure expression and be functional (opposing forces).


Could not disagree more. Art is what and where we find it and although the term may have a definition art itself is a fairly personal concept defined by the individual. A person may find art, whether man made or not, in almost anything. To me an artful map can indeed be a functional one, these are not mutually exclusive concepts in design.

The art in "art & science" of cartography is a different subject altogether and reflects the subjective nature of creating a graphic representation of the world as well as the creative process of map mapping overall.

To the idea that a map must be 'honest', again I respectfully disagree. A map as a representation of some part of the world is by it's very nature 'dishonest'. It carries with it in style and design all of it's makers perceptions and biases about the subject being mapped (we do this whether conscious of it or not). And just like a photograph, simply by taking a segment of the world and showing it in frame we alter its context and reality. But beyond that esoterica is the fact that many maps (even good maps) are purposefully made to be misleading or dishonest (see "how to lie with maps", Monmonier).


A map has to have a function, otherwise it is 'artful representation of a map form', so there are inherent barriers to full art expression. Certainly, a map can have be artfully created, just as a photojournalist who takes photos with a purpose can be artful.

#17
David Medeiros

David Medeiros

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,044 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Redwood City CA
  • Interests:Cartography, wood working, wooden boats, fishing, camping, overland travel, exploring.
  • United States

A map has to have a function, otherwise it is 'artful representation of a map form', so there are inherent barriers to full art expression. Certainly, a map can have be artfully created, just as a photojournalist who takes photos with a purpose can be artful.


I just don't see where having a function disqualifies an object from being considered art. That almost assumes all artistic objects are frivolous to some degree? Yet there are objects widely considered to be works of art that are also highly functional... a stradivarius for instance, an ancient viking long ship, or many of da Vinci's sketches originally drawn as diagrams for construction, not to be admired.

The point I'm trying to make is that art is a hugely subjective (and personal) concept and to flatly state that maps being functional in nature can't simultaneously be aesthetic objects seems too b/w for me.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

www.mapbliss.com

 


#18
MapMedia

MapMedia

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,029 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Davis, California
  • United States

A map has to have a function, otherwise it is 'artful representation of a map form', so there are inherent barriers to full art expression. Certainly, a map can have be artfully created, just as a photojournalist who takes photos with a purpose can be artful.


I just don't see where having a function disqualifies an object from being considered art. That almost assumes all artistic objects are frivolous to some degree? Yet there are objects widely considered to be works of art that are also highly functional... a stradivarius for instance, an ancient viking long ship, or many of da Vinci's sketches originally drawn as diagrams for construction, not to be admired.

The point I'm trying to make is that art is a hugely subjective (and personal) concept and to flatly state that maps being functional in nature can't simultaneously be aesthetic objects seems too b/w for me.


Right - aesthetics is a little different, imho, from art, which in its purest form, is open to anything and has no boundaries - so you would expect a Picasso style map. We can apply 'art' to anything and that is fine, my point, and I'll leave it at this :), is true art is pure expression, without constraints. I think many maps are artful and take an artist's touch, but are not 'pieces of art' due to their intention to be functional.

#19
Dennis McClendon

Dennis McClendon

    Hall of Fame

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,063 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:map design, large-scale maps of cities
  • United States

I think there are three distinct, but sometimes overlapping, pleasures that come from looking at a well-made map.

There's the pleasure anyone has in seeing a well-designed functional object, whether it's a skyscraper, a chair, a cheese plane, or a tourist map. It will be well suited for its function, have a unity of conception, have a harmony of color and expression, and have a minimum of superfluous decoration.

There's the pleasure we derive from armchair travel, from imagining ourselves in another place or time, gathering the details of that experience from a map.

And I think there's an innate pleasure in miniaturizing the world. When I work on a large-scale map, it gives me a satisfaction that I think is very similar to building a ship in a bottle or a detailed model railroad layout.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#20
Gretchen Peterson

Gretchen Peterson

    Master Contributor

  • Validated Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 235 posts
  • United States

Beautiful maps are like any art, which give pleasure to people predisposed to sense good aesthetics. (some ppl are not predisposed to see or feel aesthetics). This may be subjective, but I am certain there is some good objective research out there that defines the chemical pathway/process of a person's elated response to 'beauty'

Since I am a map fiend, when I see another form of art, I imagine what it would look like as a map. For instance, my hobby of transposing postcards into maps - see attachments.

My 2 cents



Oh wow!!! That is the coolest thing! I love the idea of using old postcards as inspiration. You've made my day. I am going to try it out next time I get a free moment.

#21
Celestemmcknight

Celestemmcknight

    Newbie

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 1 posts
  • No Country Selected

Its like having a good CV and interview technique, it gets you the job the hard work keeps it for you.

In the same way a beautiful face and figure gets you noticed the personality dictates if anyone will be long term interested.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

-->