Jerry's Map
August 24, 2011 2:16 PM   Subscribe

Jerry's Map: a short film about the fictional world of Jerry Gretzinger, which he has been building for decades through a process of procedural cartography. His website.
posted by avocet (20 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I need to email him; I have a bunch of questions: What his budget is, how much time a day he spends on it (and how has that varied over the years), whether he's retired (probably) and if so, what was it he used to do...

Several years ago I was looking at the blank walls of the dorm I was in, trying to figure out what kind of art I wanted to put on the walls. I got to thinking about how much I liked maps, specifically maps of made-up places.. started working on a "map of me" which was intended to be somehow representative of my own psyche/internal geography. Its changed a bunch over the years but I've kept the old versions and in a bit of limbo working on the current version.

I don't know if his map is anything similar, or if it's "just" art, but it's pretty great. Wish I lived nearby as it looks like he invites folk to come and visit and work on it with him if they're in the area.
posted by curious nu at 2:42 PM on August 24, 2011


I used to teach 4th graders this way. As they studied different earth or life sciences they got to add those elements to the continent we were creating. At a certain point they all located their countries on the continent and wrote their histories. The kids and I met in this shared space of the imagination and just asked questions: Where would the cities be? How do the people eat? What would live in just one tree? Where would the hurricanes hit? And so forth.

I moved on because of seniority shuffles and the drive to standardized teaching — but I still miss that. This was actually hard to watch.
posted by argybarg at 2:44 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

I completely share the attraction of creating worlds from grammars and dice games. This was really great, thanks for posting!
posted by hanoixan at 3:06 PM on August 24, 2011

I love it. It would be a great experience to see it in person.
posted by yeti at 3:24 PM on August 24, 2011

The process sounds amazing, especially when he got to the "void" part. I wonder what it's like to blot out stuff he's worked on like that (I guess the old panel is archived, but still).
posted by kenko at 3:28 PM on August 24, 2011

Wow; this is so beautiful and fascinating. As a fledgling city planner and someone fascinated by procedural stuff, this is like crack for me. (Anyone know of other cool procedural-based projects? Maybe I'll start an AskMe when I can.)

The whole battle against the void thing is really poignant.
posted by threeants at 3:40 PM on August 24, 2011

Does anyone know what area he's in? (Uh, not in a stalky way. Don't post his address or anything.) Looks like he won an award in Grand Rapids but I don't know if that's where he's based.
posted by threeants at 3:43 PM on August 24, 2011

threeants, this post says he's in Cold Spring, New York.
posted by curious nu at 3:46 PM on August 24, 2011

I can't love this enough. Thanks for posting it.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:49 PM on August 24, 2011

Thanks, curious nu.

If you are in the area and want to visit just email me! I love to have visitors.

Oh to live in Cold Spring! Never thought I'd have that desire before.
posted by threeants at 4:02 PM on August 24, 2011


posted by desjardins at 4:17 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

brb redecorating

Too bad he hasn't updated the blog in quite awhile.
posted by desjardins at 4:20 PM on August 24, 2011

Fascinating. I bet if this guy was a programmer he would have created some pretty interesting computer games.
posted by delmoi at 5:23 PM on August 24, 2011

This would look great in a Google maps-style interface. He already has the basic tiles.
posted by carter at 6:21 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

What a curious hobby... I wonder if he has the highly relevant short story by Borges.
posted by stroke_count at 6:58 PM on August 24, 2011

So very cool. Making maps - real or imaginary - is unusually satisfying. I find it easy to understand how he got so deeply into this. But the degree of organization and the introduction of chance processes is another level entirely. Thanks for a great post.
posted by Miko at 7:33 PM on August 24, 2011

About the deck of cards: "There's a reality in there. That's the future predictor."

You really can't argue with that. There is a reality in there.
posted by Miko at 7:39 PM on August 24, 2011

He's going to have a hell of a time coming up with random encounter tables for all those areas.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:03 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

He sure beats the hell outta this guy
posted by creade at 9:49 PM on August 24, 2011

What a brilliant and beautiful idea. I haven't been this impressed by an art video on Mefi since the mixing of inks or the 100 million sunflower seeds.

Thanks for sharing, avocet.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:06 PM on August 25, 2011

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