New World Order

[Image: Work by Shannon Rankin, taken from the artist’s Flickr page].

Artist Shannon Rankin does amazing things with maps. Treating them as mere pieces of decorated paper to be manipulated—clipping out spirals, folding crevassed roses of ridges and faultlines, pinning up confetti-like clouds of circles and zigzags—she creates “new geographies, suggesting the potential for a broader landscape.”

[Image: Work by Shannon Rankin, taken from the artist’s Flickr page].

The maps thus become more like the terrains they originally referred to: textured, complex, and subject to eruption. Unexpected forms emerge from below—like geology, overlapping, igneous, and dynamic.

[Images: Shannon Rankin, taken from the artist’s Flickr page].

Outlines of new island continents appear in the process, polar regions and archipelagoes that out-Dymaxion Buckminster Fuller in their collaged vortices and coasts.

[Image: By Shannon Rankin, taken from the artist’s Flickr page].

All of the works you see here come from Rankin’s Flickr page—specifically, the Uncharted, Bayside, ETA6, Maps, and Aggregate sets, where there are many other images to see.

[Images: All works by Shannon Rankin, taken from the artist’s Flickr page].

But seeing these makes me want to feed full-color sheets of obscure maps through laser-cutting machines, slicing elaborate and random geometries to reveal the longest possible distance between two adjacent things, or to discover previously unknown proximities, the whole Earth cut-up and unspooled like a lemon rind.

[Image: By Shannon Rankin, taken from the artist’s Flickr page].

There are a variety of distinct styles at work, as you can see, from tiling and tesselation to straight-ahead origami.

[Images: All works by Shannon Rankin, taken from the artist’s Flickr page].

Another approach is to reduce every map to capillaries—pure roads. The geography is simply how you get somewhere.

[Image: Work by Shannon Rankin, taken from the artist’s Flickr page].

And lest all of these look diminutive, or simply too tiny to see, the scale of execution is often surprising.

[Images: By Shannon Rankin, taken from the artist’s Flickr page].

If you want to see some of these in person, meanwhile, work from Rankin’s Convergence set are on display now through April 17 at the Craftland Gallery up in Providence, RI.

Consider supporting her work, as well, by purchasing a piece or two; you can contact the artist via her webpage.

(Originally spotted via Data is Nature).

7 thoughts on “New World Order”

  1. The Museum of Northwest Art had a show last year called "Finds Refined" which had various artists that reuse and recycle materials for art.

    In this exhibit, artist Francesca Berrini had wonderful map-collages. This article reminded me of her work, and I stumbled upon a blog with her work (the link also has a ring of related artwork-from-maps).

    http://creativemapping.blogspot.com/2007/06/francesca-berrini.html

    G. Gibson Gallery also showcases her work:
    http://www.ggibsongallery.com/artists/berrini/index.html

  2. this work using maps made me think immediatly to Francesca Berrini.
    She is transforming the same maps to represent fictional territories.
    She cuts and add together tiny pieces in order to create new maps, digested maps, of lands, islands still unknown.
    She plays with our secret desires of uncharted places, misterious and yet to discover (except that a map of the place seems to exist already)

  3. As a collage artist who also uses lots of maps in my work, I appreciate Shannon Rankin's intriguing pieces.

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