Monday, September 27, 2010

maps and power

I have recently returned from the UK, and am still finding words to describe my experiences there. Today it seems appropriate to post some reflections I had after I saw an exhibition at the British Library: ‘Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art’. It was an incredible exhibition, made up of historical maps from across the globe. This one was my favourite, Fra Mauro World Map c.1450 by William Frazer, 1804, considered by many to be the first 'modern' world map:

I wrote after I had visited the library:

“Maps have largely been used for the power and influence of rulers throughout history. They depicted actual and aspirational dominions of the ruler….The actual power they held, and the power they hoped for…"

This exhibition made me think a lot about my own spheres of influence. I wrote:
"What propaganda does the map of my world hold? Where are the new edges for me to draw? What hopes can I portray in the map of my world?”

These questions continually surface, as I consider the power I hold, and the powerlessness I often feel. I need to respect and recognise both my power and my powerlessness to be truly human today.

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