Skip

Theoretical Geography
September 26, 2007 7:08 PM   Subscribe

The Map of Humanity [large .jpg] created by illustrator James Turner is an effort to describe the human condition in an incredibly detailed map containing thousands of names from history and fiction arranged in a theoretical geography that encompasses islands of Abandonment and Wisdom and regions of Abomination and Courage.
posted by blahblahblah (39 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love that Hobbiton is in Tranquility (to the east of ... Bangor?)
posted by frobozz at 7:21 PM on September 26, 2007


I'm moving to the Isle of Jerks so I can finally fit in.

In other words: Screw you guys, I'm going home.
posted by PhatLobley at 7:37 PM on September 26, 2007


This is fantastic.
posted by evinrude at 7:40 PM on September 26, 2007


Uhhhhhhh.......interesting?
posted by GavinR at 7:48 PM on September 26, 2007


Oh, that's outstanding.

Is there a bigger version online? Half the fun of this thing is all the place names, and my eyes are old and busted.
posted by cmyk at 7:49 PM on September 26, 2007


It's kind of interesting that some cities appear in more than one place (Chicago, for example). I love stuff like this.
posted by maxwelton at 7:50 PM on September 26, 2007


It would be nice if wasn't scaled down so far that you can't read the small letters. (busted eyes or no, there are just not enough pixels)
posted by delmoi at 7:51 PM on September 26, 2007


For the better version, you have to buy the poster, apparently. Its 2x3 feet and costs $29.95.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:53 PM on September 26, 2007


my 'puter died two months ago, and the shit-ass laptop i'm using as a stopgap can't let me dig into the map. And i could spend hours digging this map.

sadkatar.
posted by vrakatar at 7:57 PM on September 26, 2007


Seattle is the capital of Freedom.
Prague is the capital of Depression.
posted by themadjuggler at 8:01 PM on September 26, 2007


Wow. Awesome! Love maps of all kinds. This one is delightful. Theoretical geography, something interesting to ponder. It was depicted in Saul Steinberg's well known cartoon of how New Yorkers experience the world.

Can imagine StrangeMaps will love this James Turner opus.

Thanks for the fun post blahblahblah. I kept dreading where NYC would turn up and felt relieved he was kind putting it the State/Province of Wonder.
posted by nickyskye at 8:19 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cool concept, beautifully executed.

I like that my current home (Melbourne) is so close to my real home (Auckland) - I could take a bus! (via Hamburg!)

Added bonus, I can see Utopia from here.
posted by nomis at 8:27 PM on September 26, 2007


That's so my desktop now.

Some of it's pretty witty. Libidinous Islands *snarf*
posted by Kattullus at 8:31 PM on September 26, 2007


Springfeild appears to be the capital of Mirth (located on the continent of Wisdom, oddly enough).
posted by bonehead at 8:38 PM on September 26, 2007


Be nice if there is a bigger version you can zoom in on!
posted by fe2dell at 8:52 PM on September 26, 2007


I was with him all the way up to Paris Hilton Penninsula[sic].

nickyskye, thanks for the great Strange Maps link!
posted by omarr at 8:57 PM on September 26, 2007


I cannot stand people who misspell "intolerance". There oughta be a law against that.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:03 PM on September 26, 2007


I seem to be marooned somewhere between Abandonment & Depression.

I knew I should have taken that left at Albertcamus.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:15 PM on September 26, 2007


ZEALOTRY claims one American city, and it is Seattle???
posted by dreamsign at 9:20 PM on September 26, 2007


Hollywood is on there, like, four times.
posted by jtron at 9:29 PM on September 26, 2007


I can see this map proudly adorning the back of every toilet door in every liberal arts college share household, until somebody finally decides that it's just too late-noughties & it is banished to Passé Island*.

* also known as rolled up & gathering dust on top of the wardrobe, because even though it's corny & passed it's use-by date, it's still too good to throw away
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:33 PM on September 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


St. Louis is squarely in the middle of "Hate"? :-(

<wonders why>
East St. Louis?
Segregation? Maybe, but lots of cities have the same problem...
Anheuser Busch? Monsanto?
The Dredd Scott decision?
Detroit Tigers fan?

Am pleased to see New Harmony in "Goals", near Auckland, though. "House on the Rock" is further north. Slightly obscure and Midwestern, hmm.
posted by tss at 10:04 PM on September 26, 2007


Ah, finally found it, and had my thoughts confirmed.

Sydney's about as close as you can possibly get to Utopia.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:27 PM on September 26, 2007


I love how the capitol of Utopia is "Aircastle".
posted by tehloki at 11:03 PM on September 26, 2007


Singapore is at the southern tip of Industry?! What the heck.

Clearly, the cartographer hasn't heard of the historical Bugis Street, or Geylang or present-day Changi Village. Hell, he probably hasn't even been to Tanjong Pagar, after the sun goes down.

Rumours of Singapore's industriousness are greatly exaggerated, folks. Yeah, so Bugis Village is now a vast mall, but really, we're only a bus-stop away from Bangkok, albeit in a gentrifying neighbourhood.

Or perhaps we could argue that Singapore was in the middle of Lust, before it moved away to the tip of the map with all this Asian Tigers jujitsu?
posted by the cydonian at 12:44 AM on September 27, 2007


Additionally, I found the following interesting:-

1) He's put four great historical centers of their respective civilizations, Mexico City, Baghdad, Delhi and Cairo, in Poverty (while wholly ignoring such vast real-world areas of poverty as Dharavi).

2) Baghdad makes a reappearance in Tyranny.

3) Angkor Wat makes it to Abandonment. Not Angkor Thom, which is the once-two-million-strong megalopolis that was taken over by the forest. Angkor Wat is the temple, not the city, and was never abandoned; even when the first French explorers came, the Vishnu temple existed as a Buddhist monastery.

4) Phnom Penh is also in the Abandonment island. Which is interesting, considering that its current population is 2 million.

5) Ironically though, New Orleans, which presumably had its population reduced after Katrina, is in Lust. Detroit, too, which saw a reduction in its population from 1.6 million in the 1960's to 950,000 now (wiki), finds itself in Industry, next to Hong Kong.

While I'm sure I've over-thought this plate of beans, I have to say that this otherwise great effort could have been even better with a little bit more thought. :-)
posted by the cydonian at 1:33 AM on September 27, 2007


Half the fun of this thing is all the place names, and my eyes are old and busted.

Virtual Magnifying Glass
posted by Dave Faris at 4:47 AM on September 27, 2007


Wow that thing is dated. I mean, Detroit the capital of Industry? Yeah, perhaps in 1952. Guangzhou is in Aimlessness. Again, yeah, maybe in 1952.

Also Moscow is both in Aimlessness and the capital of Tyranny.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:03 AM on September 27, 2007


Atlanta's in Slavery. Maybe position is determined by over-all historical flavor. Thus New Orleans being in Lust, rather than Devastation or whatever.
posted by Jess the Mess at 5:36 AM on September 27, 2007


St. Louis is squarely in the middle of "Hate"? :-(

I'm guessing Dred Scott. But there would have been better choices.
posted by Miko at 6:59 AM on September 27, 2007


I don't think you can spend too much time trying to figure out how a city was 'determined' to be somewhere. This is the product of individual association and is highly idiosyncratic, though cool. My point is, we'd all have made our own conceptual maps differently. This artist actually did the work.
posted by Miko at 7:00 AM on September 27, 2007


psst. You might also enjoy his Exquisite Corpse robot.
posted by Miko at 7:03 AM on September 27, 2007


Scanning the map, trying to figure where I would live...

Utopia seems nice.
posted by LordSludge at 7:40 AM on September 27, 2007


I can't find Toronto :(
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:07 AM on September 27, 2007


Toronto is on the coast of the Sea of Tranquility, on the west coast of the south-east peninsula of the Island of Wisdom, near Vancouver and Victoria and just about every other Canadian city but Montreal.
posted by cardboard at 8:19 AM on September 27, 2007


While I'm sure I've over-thought this plate of beans, I have to say that this otherwise great effort could have been even better with a little bit more thought.

I would like the fridge magnet version or online app in the same spirit. Then we could compare.
posted by dreamsign at 9:31 AM on September 27, 2007


I liked the names of the rivers in Self-Love, but I do think he is going for his resonance between places and the concepts, rather than tying particular real-life attributes of each city to its location.
posted by blahblahblah at 10:13 AM on September 27, 2007


LANL is in the land of Answers, but Los Alamos is in Fool's Paradise. Seems like a killer commute!
posted by vorfeed at 11:05 AM on September 27, 2007


I like that my hometown of Philadelphia is prominently featured in the "Freedom" province, but I don't like how he misspelled it.
posted by splatta at 12:24 PM on September 27, 2007


« Older Dream job of The Daily Show . . . or not   |   #7: Ten percent of all city... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post