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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Of particular interest was the screening of "Circling Detroit," part of their "Detroit transect" project that I became involved with when they were Witt Artists in Residence here at University of Michigan's Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. The project aims to present a portrait Detroit by focusing attention on a single street. That street is Brush Street, which provides a fascinating slice of information about the city. Its length stretches from the Renaissance Center on the edge of the Detroit River, past the Tigers' and Lions' stadiums, by the bustling Medical Center, through the once grand neighborhood of Brush Park, past the site where the first Model T was manufactured, all the way out past the large, and now emptied, Ford Factory. In order to gain insight into the history of the street, the artists were interested in looking to the map collection available here at the Clark Library. It is fascinating to trace the course of Brush St. over the years, watching it extend farther and farther as Detroit grew.
Perhaps the most exciting resource came in the form of the Sanborn Insurance maps that we have in the collection. These maps were used by insurance agencies interested in the building materials of different structures. Rather than produce a new map every year with updated information (as things were demolished and constructed), the publishers distributed updates that could be pasted over the map a map-owner already had in their possession. This process creates a fascinating visualization of the layering of time and history. Brush St. stretches over many pages of the atlas, which we scanned and provided to the artists. These scans will be aligned with images of the street as it is today, as well as Google Street view, in one of the films the group produces. Looking through the maps of Detroit is certainly inspirational, and it is very cool to think how they could be used in new art.
-( Clara McClenon)
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The Clark set out to closely re-examine his collection and discover the provenance. The project focused on a particular group of Vignaud's map, specifically those which were printed in Amsterdam during the 17th century by the famous cartographic families of Hondius and Jansson. These maps document an illustrious period in cartographic history, including the competition between the Hondius-Jansson and Blaeu families, but also the golden age of Dutch cartography. Platte and Utter worked with approximately 200 maps from broken atlases and analyzed their physical characteristics in order to organize them into four distinct groups, based on similarities. The close examination of the maps and the subsequent research into their history led to a series of exciting discoveries for the Clark, including the discovery of a rare atlas from 1630 and approximately 40 map states which appear to be previously unknown and undocumented. A selection of maps from the project and the results are featured in the exhibit "Rediscovering the Jansson & Hondius Atlases of Henry Vignaud."
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Please check back for additional exhibits coming soon.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
But keep in mind if you are not a huge fan of technology or you would rather look at maps from a specific time period, author, or novel there are always literary maps. In the Stephen S. Clark Library we have a variety of literary maps and atlases from Steinbeck and Hemingway to the fictional lands from The Lord of the Rings. In some ways these may be more useful in terms of narrowing your search by author or title rather than location. But if location is what you need, then Placing Literature is a fantastic easy to use resource!
Thursday, January 24, 2013
In spite of technological advances, we can see that settlements in North America are still largely determined by natural land forms. Zooming in to the Alleghenies in Pennsylvania, we can see the contours of the ridges and valleys. Rivers and lakes are also well defined: in almost every case, each bank of a major river is densely settled. It is also interesting that as we travel west, the settlements increasingly trace major highway routes.
Finally, this map shows the variety of experiences lived by Americans and Canadians. As you zoom into major cities, you see how densely populated blocks are defined and separated by major roads and physical features. We also see how densely populated the Eastern Seaboard has become, and how sparsely populated the Nevada desert and Canadian arctic remain.
You can visit the map at http://bmander.com/dotmap/index.html and change the zoom level. If you zoom in far enough, maybe you can find your own dot!