Individual Work
There, There Square

“There, There Square” by Jacqueline Goss explores the world of maps and mapmaking. Goss was commissioned by Cabinet Magazine to create this piece about borderlines and the evolution of maps. Using a simple Flash format, readers are prompted to move across fixed and ordered points on a blue and white map of the United States of America by clicking on a series of arrows. The map zooms in and out, making it sometimes hard to distinguish between the white land and blue water. Thus, the borderlines often appear only as interesting shapes, illustrating the significant role of perspective in geography. Each point on the map contains text offering random facts and humor on the history of mapmaking and comments on newer aerial technology. For example, users learn that the uneven northern border of Tennessee is the result of iron ore deposits throwing off an early surveyor’s magnetic compass. Goss also points out how other countries were once inaccurately drawn in relation to America and mentions other mapping mishaps that occurred over time. Once every point on the map is explored, the map zooms out allowing readers to see the outline of the United States before disappearing into the background. This humorous and informative piece plays with the idea that boundaries are social concepts, products of culture, technology, and at times, human error, reminding readers that the borderlines society now accepts have not always existed, and in a way, only exist in people’s minds.