See up there, north of where the Gherkin is – that’s where we are! Well, not really… kind of. Japanese artist Sohei Nishoso’s diaroma’s aren’t quite accurate in a technical, cartographical sense, but rather represent his own wanderings around the world’s major cities. He explores these vast urban spaces, taking thousands and thousands of photos as he goes. Then, he edits them down to “just” a few thousand, hand-prints them, and cuts and collages to produce massive composite representations of the city as he experienced it.
Eighteenth-century Japanese mapmaker Inō Tadataka, who explored and mapped space on foot, is an influence, and the multiple perspectives inevitable from such a project also evoke Cubist imagery. The result is an arresting challenge to our ability to “map” anything at the click of a button, emphasising the multiplicity of experiences and memories of “place” rather than those solely designated by officially delineated pathways. They also evoke a time when cartography relied on the physical examination and experience of space, rather than satellite imagery, to show us the way. Cool!