Everyone’s favourite and ironically depressing Instagram account, Sad Topographies, has now been made into a book. For anyone who has wanted to take a trip to Lonely Island, hike up Terrible Mountain or just wander down Hopeless way, Shades of Death road or Why me Lord lane (laughing while writing that one), you can now flick through geographer and photographer Damien Rudd’s map findings in publication form.
Damien began to “spread sadness worldwide” on Instagram in September 2015. His first post, of Sad Road in Lancaster, Kentucky, tapped into the dispiriting tendencies of 603 likes to date, and 105 comments of people sharing the address with their pals, posting messages along the lines of “it me”. Each found on “the maps of service of a famous search engine,” Damien’s effort to make us laugh takes “scientifical precision,” explains publisher, Jean Boîte Editions. “The work offers the exact scales and localisations useful to each place, as well as a sad index.”
Sad Topographies discoverer Damien has a background in graphic design and photography, completing a master’s in fine art at Kunsthogskolen in Bergen, Norway. His work since graduating has included installations and the pairing of photography and text, investigating “historical memory through the reading of objects implicated in past events”. His most famous and long withstanding work, however, is his sorrowful location unearthings.
Each of the map screenshots featured in Sad Topographies is contextualised with a text by Cécile Coulon, “for whom the geography forms the raw material of the inspiration, and which here gives short comments for each map, sometimes illuminating, sometimes desperate,” explains the publisher. “Cécile Coulon offers us above all a parallel path of reading, adding to the irony of cartographic work and the finesse of her poetic gaze.”
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