Talking Maps

The Bodleian Library in Oxford has a new exhibition, which looks well worth a visit.
One of the maps in the collection is Ben Hennig's latest, which shows the countries of the world adjusted according to their mentions in the tweets sent by Donald Trump. There's also a remarkable piece by Grayson Perry.

TALKING MAPS opens in early July, and runs through to 2020.

Talking Maps exhibition
  • Grayson Perry’s tapestry, Red Carpet (2017),designed to express the state of the nation following the Brexit vote and his etching Map of Nowhere (2008) which explores his own belief system
  • The iconic Gough Map (late 14th-century), the earliest surviving map showing Great Britain in a recognizable form
  • The Selden Map, a late Ming map of the South China Sea, which is the first known Chinese-made map to enter England, rediscovered at the Bodleian in 2008
  • Fictional maps including CS Lewis’ map of Narnia and J.R.R.Tolkien’s maps of Middle-earth
  • Islamic maps such as Muslim scholar al-Idrīsī’s world map, one of the greatest works of medieval map-making, which draws on Islamic cosmology and geography
  • Maps from World War II including a D-day landing map
  • Historic maps of Oxford including a pictorial birds-eye view of the city from 1675, a 19th-century ‘drink map’ and never-before-displayed maps of Thomas Sharp’s post-war plan to redesign Oxford
  • A vast map of Laxton in Nottinghamshire, the last remaining feudal village in England, which remains largely unchanged four centuries on from the map’s creation in 1635
  • Specially-commissioned 3D installations, never displayed before, created by Factum Arte, which recreate a famous lost world map by the 12th-century Muslim geographer al-Sharif al-Idrīsī.

Paul Black says of the exhibition:

The exhibition exemplifies maps as subjective proposals on the nature of reality and our relationship to the world in all of its facets; subjective, spiritual, political, cultural, and even fictional explorations of narrative.
The addition of contemporary art to the exhibition highlights the influence of the imagination throughout the history of map-making.

The history of mapping the physical, political, and spiritual world is not a cartographic representation of where we happen to exist, but where we happen to ‘believe’ we exist – the map is a subjective truth, that changes with every redrawing, an existential signifier informing our very identity.