Where are you?

I have been rather intrigued by You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination  with over 100 maps from artists, cartographers, and explorers. Kathy Harmon has gathered together breath-taking images of worlds, both real and imaginary, which are both beautiful and thought provoking.

Mapmaking fulfills one of our most ancient and deep seated desires: understanding the world around us and our place in it – a favourite ‘map’  of mine is that found in a box of chocolates, telling you what is hidden inside, a map of the most frivolous and inessential kind. So, maps need not just show continents and oceans: here there are maps to heaven and hell; to happiness and despair; maps of moods, matrimony, and mythological places. There are maps to popular culture, from Gulliver’s Island to Gilligan’s Island. There are speculative maps of the world before it was known, and maps to secret places known only to the mapmaker. Artists’ maps show another kind of uncharted realm: the imagination. What all these maps have in common is their creators’ willingness to venture beyond the boundaries of geography or convention.

I have very much enjoyed this wide-ranging collection of such superbly inventive maps. These are charts of places you’re not expected to find, but a voyage you take in your mind: an exploration of the ideal country estate from a dog’s perspective; a guide to buried treasure on Skeleton Island; a trip down the road to success; or the world as imagined by an inmate of a mental institution. Just a joy to while away a rainy afternoon with…

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