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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Map as Metaphor

Panneels, Inge (2012) Map as Metaphor. In: The British Cartographic Society Annual symposium: Mapping 2012: Mapping the Global Village,, 13-15 June 2012, Basingstoke. (Submitted)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Maps have acted as a universal metaphor and have been used throughout cultures and times to visually organise information; a process that has traditionally been interpreted by artists, who were often employed as early cartographers. Artists have also, by extension, used map iconography to express their own ideas about the world. A map is of course never truly an objective instrument but rather one shaped by its time; artists have explored its potential to be subversive and create works using maps as metaphors rather than measurements of high fidelity. The integration of maps and mapping techniques is a manifestation of postmodern art, where the appropriation of past styles and conventions is an expression of its questioning nature. In mapping the cultural terrain, case studies of the work of several international artists will set the context and describe how they have assimilated maps into their works of art and questioned maps as instruments of truth-telling. This is the notion of the map as metaphor. The case studies, including the author’s Map-i project will demonstrate the use of both traditional hand-drawn maps and contemporary digital mapping techniques to gather and order complex data to create artworks with a sense of place. Map-i will examine 500 years of cartography through the heritage of Mercator. The cartographer considered his life’s most significant work to be the publication of Atlas sive Cosmographiae Meditationes de Fabrica Mundi et Fabricati Figura, a synthesis of the history of heaven and earth. The re-consideration of Mercator’s work from the 16th century with its expanded mechanistic worldview, critical in the Age of Discovery and informed by world exploration and early astronomical observations, will contrast the 21st century digital global village and its quantum worldview.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: Map as Metaphor Mercator Map-i
Depositing User: Inge Panneels


Item ID: 2832
Official URL:

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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2012 17:06
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 09:06


Author: Inge Panneels

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Art and Design
Units of Assessment > 32 Art and Design (UoA)


Glass and Ceramics > Kiln Glass

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