Monday, April 13, 2009


Nothing is more solid and constant than the earth beneath our feet, right? It provides us with objective standards for measurement ("milestones" and "landmarks"). The physical location, dimensions and characteristics of mountains or streets or rivers can be quantified and recorded on maps that can be read and agreed upon by all.

Isn't it interesting, then, how various artists can view that same objective reality so differently?

A map of Florida from Walt Disney's Dumbo, with storks parachuting baby animals down on the circus.

The earth as a jester, with cautionary Latin maxims.

New York City as a huge penis

A map of London from the 1851 World's Fair

The earth may appear constant to a farmer or an engineer building a road. A map maker has tools and standards to depict the earth as objectively as possible. Artists look at the same object, but what a blaze of creativity in their responses!

The earth as perceived in 1940s romantic fiction, where the single most important thing on the planet is that rendezvous with your true love

A 15th century map of the earth

A 4th century map of the earth

A Hollywood map shows how California contains a microcosm of the rest of the world for purposes of filming movies.