Here’s the Waldseemüller map referred to on the last page of The Unwritten volume 1 (“The Waldseemuller map. A map is just a story when all’s said and done. In this case, the story includes ‘once upon a time there was a place named America…’ Nobody, up to then, had used the name for the new continent. Waldseemuller read a forged letter, full of nonsense, that said Amerigo Vespucci was the first Westerner to travel there. So a story becomes encoded in an image, and the image changes the face of the world.” – emphasis mine):
And here’s the globe gores version, designed to be pasted on to a sphere to form a globe:
Here’s a 1927 Paramount Studios map of southern California, marked with areas that could stand in for other locations for film purposes:
Here’s Jorge Luis Borges’s “On Exactitude in Science,” on the impossible representational task of mapping:
In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless…
Here’s Gregory Bateson on the relation between the map and the territory:
We say the map is different from the territory. But what is the territory? Operationally, somebody went out with a retina or a measuring stick and made representations which were then put on paper. What is on the paper map is a representation of what was in the retinal representation of the man who made the map; and as you push the question back, what you find is an infinite regress, an infinite series of maps. The territory never gets in at all. […] Always, the process of representation will filter it out so that the mental world is only maps of maps, ad infinitum.
Here’s Jean Baudrillard on how that relation has changed in recent decades (emphasis mine):
Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: A hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory – precession of simulacra – that engenders the territory.
Here’s The West Wing on the distortions and the rhetorical/political/cultural effects of the Mercator projection map (also indispensable on this count: xkcd):
Lastly, here’s Bechdel’s beloved Wind in the Willows map, which we discussed during Fun Home week: