I don’t know if you’ve all heard, but there was a small election off the west coast of Cornwall recently – in fact, it was all the way over the Atlantic in the land of the free. But I hear you ask: “’How did it all happen?”
Thank heavens then for KK Outlet’s new exhibition Mapping America, which looks beyond the generalised oppositions that can define how we think about the country’s politics and culture. As they quite rightly say: “America can be viewed as a country of competing opposites; east vs west, democrat vs republican, Romney vs Obama, religion vs secular, rich vs poor, Chris Brown v’ Drake but things are never that simple.”
The exhibition represents the election and the electorate through infographics, resulting in a collection of maps and visuals that re-writes the hastily sketched geography of issues set in our minds. Much like the four very different ideas for a new brand USA we posted about on Monday (and from which the MGMT work appears here as well) this collection of visualisations reshapes our awareness of America’s nuances in a variety of ways.
Eric Fisher has intricately mapped the racial and ethnic divisions in the US cities which was originally inspired by Bill Rankin’s map of Chicago and Sarah Williams looks back to previous elections state-by-state for an overall picture on how this breakdown impacts on the overall election victories. The fascinating elements of this visualisation are the dramatic shifts giving weight to a picture of a politically divided America based on geographic location.
Then there is Lucy Nurnberg whose beautiful work offers a simple breakdown of youth voting in America as well as other little pockets of interesting information such as the amount of young Americans active on Facebook compared with the number who vote. And lastly, Kirk Goldberry’s piece looks at Texas, comparing ethnicity with the voting patterns in an interestingly abstract way.
After spending time with Mapping America, I feel like Christopher Columbus with a SatNav.