Denis Wood
Siglio, Los Angles, CA, 2013, English
Nonfiction, Graphic Design
10 x 8.5 inches, paperback, 152 pages, 97 black-and-white illustrations
ISBN: 9781938221026
Suggested Retail Price: $32.00

From the Publisher. Iconoclastic geographer Denis Wood has created an atlas unlike any other. He surveys his small, century-old neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina by first paring away the inessential “map crap” (scale, orientation, street grids), then by locating the revelatory in the unmapped and unmappable: radio waves permeating the air, the paperboy’s route in space and time, the light cast by street lamps, Halloween pumpkins on porches.

His joyful subversion of the traditional notions of mapmaking forge new ways of seeing not only this particular place, but also the very nature of place itself. In pursuit of a “poetics of cartography,” Wood makes maps in which the experience of place is primary, and the eye is attuned to the invisible, the overlooked, and the seemingly insignificant.

Denis Wood’s four decades of work as a geographer and independent scholar has influenced the creative and activist spirit of a new generation of critical cartographers, experimental and psycho-geographers, ecologically and politically conscious landscape architects and designers. His most well-known book, The Power of Maps, began as an exhibition Wood curated for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum in 1992 (and remounted the following year at the Smithsonian). Wood has since written numerous books that critique and investigate the political and social implications of mapmaking.

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Allison Arieff

I love this book just for the fact that Wood says he strips away the extraneous “map crap” (scale, orientation, street grids) to create this simultaneously dreamy and subversive document of his Boylan Heights neighborhood. Wood is interested not in intersections but what's within interstitials. His mesmerizing graphics capture barking dogs, absentee landlords, disfigured trees, and the paper route of Lester Mims. The absence of the expected doesn’t make these cartographic explorations any less informative, however. The narratives accompanying Wood’s maps tell a much deeper story of this North Carolina neighborhood than any “normal” map ever could.

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