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Mapping It Out

An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies

Hans Ulrich Obrist

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Cartography and infographics meet contemporary art in this thought-provoking book featuring blueprints, drawings, instructions, lists and mind maps


Over 130 of the world’s most creative minds make sense of our exterior and interior worlds through intriguing and imaginative maps of their own devising. Imaginative, visionary and richly absorbing, this book will appeal to anyone interested in how we visualize our worlds, physical or abstract, real or imagined.

Whether they chart a newly discovered land or lay out a complicated process, maps serve to improve our understanding of what surrounds us. They make the complex simple, and reveal the complexity behind the apparently straightforward.

Original and thought-provoking, Mapping It Out invites leading lights from a host of fields to create a personal map of their own, in whatever form and showing whatever terrain they choose, whether real-world or imaginary.

Some contributors have translated scientific data into simplified visual language, while others have condensed vast social, political or natural forms into concise diagrams. Many have reworked existing maps to subvert their original purpose or to present an alternative view of reality. Others play with the map’s commitment to truth by plotting invented worlds and charting imaginative flights of fancy. Going further, some offer entirely new kinds of map – or even reject the map’s claim to bear facts altogether.

In his Introduction, acclaimed novelist Tom McCarthy reflects on the relationship between maps, literature and knowledge, while Hans Ulrich Obrist considers the influence of maps on artistic creativity.

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'A dizzying catalogue of images that interrogate the role of maps in the 21st century'
New Statesman

'Thought-provoking abstractions from artists, designers, scientists and more … with a beautiful design by Jonathan Barnbrook, it will be a long, long while before this book starts to feel old'

'Engrossing and beautiful'
It's Nice That

'Brings artistry and imagination back to mapmaking … visually arresting'

'Fascinating … explores the post-modern world of alternative cartography'

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback without Jacket

Size: 19.5 x 27.0 cm

Extent: 240 pp

Publication date: 16 June 2014

ISBN: 9780500239186

About the Author

Hans Ulrich Obrist is an art curator, critic and historian. He is the Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London.

Tom McCarthy is an English novelist, writer and artist.

List of Contributors

Tom McCarthy

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