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Book of the Week — Cartographic Fragmentations

“…the task for art is sometimes to re-mystify it in order to stimulate the inquisitive spirit.”

Cartographic Fragmentations
Christopher Kit Maddox
Madison, WI: Christopher Kit Maddox, 2014
N7433.4 M3252 C37 2014 oversize

A note from the author: 

“Cartographic Fragmentations is a supplement to Terra Obscura, a project initiated in 2014.

The work in this collection is derived from published, authoritative material which submits to interventions along structural fault lines. These fragmenting actions reveal problems inherent to symbolic and graphic representation.

Each print displays the complete color palette of a particular published map found in the archives of the Arthur H. Robinson Map Library, University of Wisconsin. Colors are matched precisely and reproduced using a Pantone Matching System spot-four-color-process conversion guide. Tampering with the physical organization of the map through this and other distillation processes challenges the authority of fixed, two-dimensional representations of dynamic systems. The restructuring is a meditation that can reveal beauty in a structure’s liberated alter-ego. This is also a confrontation with the discrepancy between signification and reality. It illustrates the absurdity of our claustrophobic existence that is confined by language, representation and abstractions.

Terra Obscura is an ongoing response to historical political undertakings to tame and quantify the wild Earth and to define borders in political and semiotic terms. The work is an interpretive reordering of cartography and information-graphics. It is a regression by which art retrieves space from science, revitalizing the term “terra incognita,” while altering its implications.

As science claims to have acquired total knowledge of the physical surfaces of the world, the task for art is sometimes to re-mystify it in order to stimulate the inquisitive spirit.”

University of Utah copy is 3/10

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