Doesn't this look rad?

I Love Atlases. You may know this about me. I love being able to take some obscure facts and figures that I can't picture in my head. As a geographer I like to think of everything as spatially distributed. How about art or political activism? Surfing the philanthropy blogs today (yes, not studying) I came across this map set that crosses these two seemingly unmixable ideas. An Atlas of Radical Cartography. An Atlas of Radical Cartography is a collection of 10 maps and 10 essays about social issues from globalization to garbage; surveillance to extraordinary rendition; statelessness to visibility; deportation to migration. Here's the intro:

"INTRODUCTION | Alexis Bhagat & Lize Mogel
This Atlas is an atlas and not the atlas. Rather, it is one of many possible atlases, given the abundance of artists, architects, and others using maps and mapping in their work. While all maps have an inherent politics that often lies hidden beneath an “objective” surface, the contributions to An Atlas of Radical Cartography wear their politics on their sleeve. This publication includes ten pairs of politically engaged maps and texts from within the growing movement of cultural producers who have parallel or integrated activist practices. With that in mind, we intend for An Atlas of Radical Cartography to act as a primer on issues which the maps and essays address: identity, land-use, imprisonment, energy, migration. "

For ages, people have used maps as a method of spreading their agendas; as propaganda, both positive and negative. Look at a map of the Falkland/Malvinas Islands from Britain and from Argentina. Both nations claim them as territory still to this day and show it proudly in their maps. Look at just about every map from the last political campaign. You can know almost without a doubt what agenda the map is trying to sell you on without having to read or hear any accompanying argument. In every major War, governments produce maps that cause citizens to feel a certain way. Here's a fun (fun?) one from WWI showing all the bickering between nations. You can tell who's picking fights with who and just how aggressive they're being at it.

Did you know the old UN flag logo used to be centered on North America? Big surprise, right? At least now, they disguise their American focus with an Arctic-down
look at the globe.

In all the mapping classes I took, there was an ever-present anthem. That is, that unlike Miss Shakira's hips, MAPS LIE. As potential map-makers, we need to be aware of this power and distrust accordingly. Aren't the rad?

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