Diorama Map: Rio de Janeiro
Drawing out mental maps of cities is nary a dull activity (first time I’ve used the word ‘nary’). Warped by what some would call an impaired sense of direction, my own scribbled maps have often dissolved into floating arrows and cartoonish landmarks peppered with unnecessary written details. These maps, drawn on the back of receipts and corners of take-out menus, knowingly brush up against a rich art historical tradition of attempting to understand and often systematize the world beyond our immediate line of sight. From Ptolemy and Mercator to Google Earth, maps have indisputably informed the way we perceive and interact with our surroundings.
Aware of the profound implications of cartography, Japanese artist Sohei Nishino has created a photographic series entitled Diorama Map, carrying out what seems to be Situationist-inspired artistic process, which goes as follows: the artist walks around a chosen city on foot and documents various locations on film. He then returns to the footage, extracting still images to collage into wonderfully complex mental maps that turn imprecise lines, misalignments and gaps into spaces for individual interpretation, resisting the colonizing forms of traditionally rendered geographies. More cities after the jump.
Nishino in front of his Diorama Map of London at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, photo via The Japan Times.
Diorama Map: Shanghai
Composed of snapshots taken on foot and then hand-printed on contact sheets, Nishino’s collages are highly personal. Speaking to The Japan Times, the artist revealed how he has included as many as 10,000 photos from each city in a single Diorama Map, creating a recognizable image that is also embedded with countless visual anecdotes, such as images of British pounds inserted into the location where Nishino was pickpocketed in London along with photographs of whom he met and what he ate. To scan through the intricate details of Nishino’s large-scale Diorama Maps is to travel without traveling, to reinterpret and relive an individual experience of a city.
Alright, who’s ready to make an Instagram version of this?
Diorama Map: New York City
Diorama Map: Tokyo
Diorama Map: Paris
[All images courtesy the artist. To see more, visit Sohei Nishino's website.]