Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Poetry of Mapping Your Whole Life


Dennis Wood is a geographer who has mapped nearly every aspect of his neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina: street signs, sewer lines, the mailman's route, power lines, fallen autumn leaves.  Examined  together, the maps create strange multi-layered story about the place Wood calls home. For example, the picture above is Wood's map of all the jack-o-lanterns in his neighborhood.  Wood goes on to explain that:

the pumpkins are more then what appears to just be an aesthetic look at his neighborhood, but more a socio-economic study.   with these pumpkins, he did a study comparing the people who were more active in the neighborhood association and those who were not.  the pumpkins can be seen as signifiers of those who were more respected in the community as the people who are more renown had more pumpkins on their porch then their neighbors who were not involved, and also happened to live in the less wealthy portions of the neighborhood.

You can see a slideshow of Wood's maps here.  Wood's book is available here.

Steve Clowney

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