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Reviewed by:
  • Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas, and: Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS, 2nd edition
  • Vincent J. Del Casino Jr. (bio)
Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas Denis Wood Siglio, 2010
Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS, 2nd edition John Krygier and Denis Wood The Guilford Press, 2011

I have nothing to say

(A Reflection on Everything Sings and Making Maps)The first book arrives1Blue cover, white pumpkinsI crack the first pageIra Glass"These maps are completely unnecessary," he saysI have nothing to say

Panic, heart beats fasterDenis is messing with my headMaps as poemsI'll give you poems…I throw the book on my desk and walk awayWhy did they want my comment?I have nothing to say [End Page 133]

Narcissistic dreamingUniversity of Wisconsin, David Woodward's seminarMaps as representational practiceBest friend Josh, dead way too earlyLondon Underground Map of 19332Maps are art, maps are scienceAn MFA in cartography, that's what Josh thought we neededI have nothing to say

Maps as power"Destroy existing modes of mapmaking," Denis saysEasier said than doneMaps as art-science/science-artThe binary collapsesThe scrutiny is too much to bearI have nothing to say

As Denis might say, fuck that…I must have something to sayI have written about mapsThought about mapsTorn maps upReoriented maps

I don't think so, Ira Glass…"These maps are unnecessary"I know that he doesn't mean it literallyThey are completely necessaryThey not only tell storiesThey expose moments of power-knowledgeThey trace routes r-o-u-t-e-s and lay out roots r-o-o-t-sBicycle deliveries, newspaper routes, starting from homeTime-space, space-time maps—lifted off the ground (is this our goal?)What happens to these maps of time-space in the age of theInternet, I wonder? [End Page 134]

Layers of theoretical insight"Neighborhood is process, a process place," Denis saysThat's right"General reference maps pretend otherwise""Has the hubris to present the world, you know…as it really is," he continues laterItalics for effect and affectDamn right, Denis

And, maps can tell us…"Boylan Heights: process-thing unfolding in space and time"Foldings of space and timeA poststructuralist impulse, with clearly Marxist tendenciesLandlords stretching space, Denis aversTaking capital from Boylan HeightsSimple lines, densities appearPeople are disenfranchisedMaps expose the truth of economic power and authorityMore than artMaps are argumentJust read Making Maps: A Visual Guide to Map Design for GIS

As John and Denis say,"We have to mess with our spherical world to get it flat"Distortions, area, shape, distance and directionBut, we are making argumentsThat's what we do with maps

Colors are "an agnostic sin," they exclaim"Never use them for mere decoration"We can sin with mapsBut, as they suggest, "color is emotive""Angry red, calm green"Can you see the poetry in maps?"They are not rules.""There are no rules." [End Page 135]

But the foldingsMaps fold, spaces foldNot just maps and spaces but map spacesMaps are intertextual objects that demand interrogationThey go beyond their own boundariesThey are always more than they seemMap spaces are both object and subject

Ah the critical Foucauldian impulse with a dash of Judith Butler's performativity theoryMy friend Steve and I always thought that was clever3Maps are partialities, temporary manifestationsFeelings, emotions, rituals, practicesMaps as critical humanistic possibilityMaps are so much more than scienceDare I say it, more-than-representational?

Contour lines of assessed valueDenis exposes connectivitiesPatterns in spaceNot contours of altitude or temperatureBut, assessed valueAssessed value, really?Power articulated, power exposed"The world didn't ask for them," Ira Glass says of these mapsBut I think the world needs them!Goddam brilliant [End Page 136]

Toward the end, Denis explains, "I set the type on our IBM...


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pp. 133-137
Launched on MUSE
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