View Full Version : Maps as political statements

02-21-2014, 04:24 AM
I got this idea from a client I'm working with. I'm making a city map for him, and it has some locations that needed to be shown in bigger scale than the rest to fit all the detail he wanted. When I showed the sketch, he commented that the map was like a political statement because of these size differences, and I thought "Yes, all maps can be seen as political statements, all maps choose what to show and what to hide." Actually, I thought it in Swedish, but anyway… A map can be more or less of a political statement, and it can be intentional or unintentional, and… I thought it could be a fun challenge to make a map as politically stating as possible?

A city map with a palace as big as the slums, a regional map distorted to show the own country much bigger than the surrounding ones, a world map with the country names replaced with what they should be in the opinion of the cartographer… Of course it'd be hard/impossible to tell what the statement is in such a map, if it shows a fictional world, so maybe it'd have do be a double map challenge again – one map as accurate as possible, one as biased as possible.


02-21-2014, 06:07 AM
JA! I like the idea of it! The image of a palace as big as the slums comes across as a very strong message for me and I really want to see how you pull that off in a map!

02-21-2014, 10:54 AM
I'd say yes... very tentatively...

If you make a challenge like this, and people are allowed to map the real world, then they are expressing their politics on the forums. Other people will disagree, or get offended, people will make seemingly (to them) harmless statements, other people will get angry... I've seen politics spiral into flamewars even on the most pleasant of forums. And it's so nice here, I'd hate to see that.

If it was specified that it had to be a fictional world, I can see it. But, as you said, you'd have to do two maps - the "as is" and the "political".

So, say we do that, and someone makes a map with a huge palace and tiny slums... that's pretty cool. And someone else makes the slums as big as a small country, because the cartographer's some wharf rat to whom the slums are the whole world, and that's cool. And then someone will work on different countries being the size of small planets and other countries the size of a radish... which would be fine... except... someone is going to see their country in the radish and be offended, and it probably won't spiral into anything other than a veiled snarky comment, but it will upset someone, almost guaranteed...

So... I think the challenge could be fun, but risky if it's not outlined a lot more clearly than most challenges, which are usually very open to interpretation.

(ie: Don't use real places, even as a basis, don't use real religions or... whatever.)

If it could be done that way, then I say yes. Otherwise I say no. :/

Then again, I'm extremely paranoid, and they'll prolly do it and no one will care and everyone will be like "haha Jalyha is crazy". That'd be nice :P

Anyway, so, I'll vote yes, but I'm anxious about it :?

02-22-2014, 01:17 PM
I suppose if its not current politics, its fine. I'm an advocate of the concept that its best not to talk real politics nor religion in communities like ours. Not only am I abstinent from discussing politics nor religion, I don't consider my personal views on those subjects as anybody's business. Now political and religious concerns in a fantasy world, that's a whole different story, and one I can stand behind.

02-22-2014, 03:05 PM
Yeah, good thoughts… It should be limited to fictional worlds. But then, there doesn't seem to be a huge interest, so we probably don't have to worry :D

02-22-2014, 04:18 PM
Political statements in a fictional world would be much less interesting I think but as GP said we can't do it on the Earth map.

02-22-2014, 04:29 PM
Well, we could always do political maps on fictional worlds that we already know? Like idk, a series like ASOIAF or something? Not sure if that's what you were suggesting in the first place or not...