Maps are far from being boring documents, but perhaps we could say that they tend to be solemn. Although cartography is a fantastical discipline (in various senses of the term), perhaps due to its antiquity and their lineage they tend to be too serious, except when creativity and ingenuity make them represent a fragment of reality in an unexpected way.

That is the case with a series of maps by Katie Kowalsky, who went from being an economics student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to a professional cartographer, and a daring one, and she recently decided to find the meeting point between fields of knowledge and technique that have always fascinated her: history, art, computers, geography and design.

The result was a kind of pop cartography inspired by the artistic style of Roy Lichtenstein, who brought the colors and forms of comics and advertising to art galleries. In Kowalsky’s maps, cities such as Chicago, New Delhi and Paris appear to form a cartographic appendix to a fictional story, as if they were offering the reader a glimpse of a territory where an unbelievable story occurred.

That, after all, appears to be the aim of all maps: to see what is really there but which, in some ways, we can only find through our imagination.

Maps are far from being boring documents, but perhaps we could say that they tend to be solemn. Although cartography is a fantastical discipline (in various senses of the term), perhaps due to its antiquity and their lineage they tend to be too serious, except when creativity and ingenuity make them represent a fragment of reality in an unexpected way.

That is the case with a series of maps by Katie Kowalsky, who went from being an economics student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to a professional cartographer, and a daring one, and she recently decided to find the meeting point between fields of knowledge and technique that have always fascinated her: history, art, computers, geography and design.

The result was a kind of pop cartography inspired by the artistic style of Roy Lichtenstein, who brought the colors and forms of comics and advertising to art galleries. In Kowalsky’s maps, cities such as Chicago, New Delhi and Paris appear to form a cartographic appendix to a fictional story, as if they were offering the reader a glimpse of a territory where an unbelievable story occurred.

That, after all, appears to be the aim of all maps: to see what is really there but which, in some ways, we can only find through our imagination.

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