Artist Shannon Rankin does amazing things with maps. Treating them as mere pieces of decorated paper to be manipulated—clipping out spirals, folding crevassed roses of ridges and faultlines, pinning up confetti-like clouds of circles and zigzags—she creates “new geographies, suggesting the potential for a broader landscape.”
The maps thus become more like the terrains they originally referred to: textured, complex, and subject to eruption. Unexpected forms emerge from below—like geology, overlapping, igneous, and dynamic.
Outlines of new island continents appear in the process, polar regions and archipelagoes that out-Dymaxion Buckminster Fuller in their collaged vortices and coasts.
But seeing these makes me want to feed full-color sheets of obscure maps through laser-cutting machines, slicing elaborate and random geometries to reveal the longest possible distance between two adjacent things, or to discover previously unknown proximities, the whole Earth cut-up and unspooled like a lemon rind.
There are a variety of distinct styles at work, as you can see, from tiling and tesselation to straight-ahead origami.
Another approach is to reduce every map to capillaries—pure roads. The geography is simply how you get somewhere.
And lest all of these look diminutive, or simply too tiny to see, the scale of execution is often surprising.
Consider supporting her work, as well, by purchasing a piece or two; you can contact the artist via her webpage.
(Originally spotted via Data is Nature).