Map of Sydney: Avian surnames; Map of Sydney: Fish surnames; Map of Sydney: Celestial surnames; The Browns; The Blacks and The Whites; The Greens and The Reds.
- Publication Type:
- Mr Salmon and Mrs Sparrow: Experimental Cartography
This visual research contributes to the field of information visualisation, an area that is seeing enormous growth due to computer literacy and access to data sets, but which remains under-theorised from a visual communication perspective. The research understands the agency of information visualisation, in this instance cartography, and exposes it as a rhetorical system loaded with social and cultural codes. Although the notion of maps as partial documents is not new, very little research has been done into the aesthetics of authority, that is, the role that visual conventions play in continuing to assert neutrality. This body of work begins to redress this gap. 'Mr Salmon and Mrs Sparrow' was comprised of six maps, a substantial body of work that builds on my visual research into experimental cartography, particularly the rhetoric of cartographic language. Through the exploitation of cartography's semiological systems the authoritative, seemingly neutral, visualisations are revealed to be partial documents. Although the visual language of these maps reflect the conventions of mapping, the quantitative data sets are absurd: these are maps of Sydney residents who share surnames with bird and fish species, celestial bodies and colours. This exhibition was part of Sydney Design 2010. The significance of this work can be measured by its inclusion in two national collections: A set of three maps (Map of Sydney: Avian surnames, Map of Sydney: Fish surnames, and Map of Sydney: Celestial surnames) was purchased by the National Library of Australia and by the UTS library. The Map of Sydney: Fish surnames was also purchased by the Australian National Maritime Museum.
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