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Dissected Maps by Jeff Woodbury

Woodbury on his project:

I have always had maps around. I grew up in a military family and my father, among other things, made maps. Even after I left home I traveled, and maps offer both plans and dreams. The concept of the map is one of humanity’s earliest and greatest inventions - and one of our densest ways of storing and managing information.

I began dissecting maps in 1998. Tracing routes with a knife is similar to driving down a highway - most of what you’re left with is the road itself and a narrow band of land on either side. By cutting away everything but the roads, a map ceases to be a 2-dimensional representation of reality and becomes an actual 3-dimensional thing…

Maps are generally cheap, and their value is predicated on their usefulness. When they become outdated we throw them away. By dissecting them, their use-value is destroyed by the loss of their function. But the use-value is replaced with aesthetic value, and with it a commensurate extension of the object’s lifespan.

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