Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Dada Millennium Map of the United States

The Dada Millennium Map of the United States, 1999 (by Dr. David "Jim" Nemeth )

as appeard at the The California Geographer (1999, Volume 39 )

"What might be the outcome of bending the traditional rules of cartography in favor of chance? Our answer is "something Dada." What does chance have to do with cartography and Dada? Taking the last first, Dada is a recent expression of the ancient absurdist spirit of relativism which, as an antidote to rationalism... As a protest movement against the excesses of a rational society, Dada mushroomed briefly in the immediate aftermath of the First World War. It arose among French and German intellectuals out of their sheer moral exhaustion and nausea over that War."

Dr Nemeth and Dr Kaplan, Department of Geography and Planning University of Toledo

Dada was more generally a protest against the hypocritical values of an arrogant self-satisfied world that preached aesthetics and progressive thoughts while squandering life.

map detail

map detail

"the text and images constitute a critique of socio-economic and environmental conditions across the United States on the threshold of the second millennium. The deliberate irrationality of our Dada map negates the laws of beauty and organization in traditional mapping. Designed to be mailed instead of filed, framed or referenced, our absurdist cartography partakes in an interdisciplinary, international, and largely underground correspondence art movement whose members most likely would be amused instead of outraged by the emergence of an anti- or parallel cartography. And, as a mailed item, our Dada map "corresponds" to the world in an ambiguous sense of the word, by refusing to correspond to the Establishment's traditional perceptions of what constitutes an acceptable representation of the real, or a cartographic truth. In its typography, layout and philosophy, the Dada Millennium Map of the United States defiantly violates all the conventions of good taste in cartographic publishing. In conclusion, we began by asking "What might be the outcome of bending the traditional rules of cartography in favor of chance?" One outcome is our Dada Map, a product of an alternative cartography that is appropriate to serving—not another War Machine—but serving as everyone's own doormap to the end of the millenium. Look to your mailbox soon for the Dada Millennium Map. Unfold it. Behold it. Wipe your feet on it."

map detail

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