PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Bending Lines: maps and data from distortion to deception

Since (most? all?) games use maps of some sort, geographic or topological, I thought this on-line exhibition at the Boston Public Library by the Leventhal Map & Education Center into how maps can be used to distort interpretation, sometimes nefariously (my main interest), would be of interest to the community. The wargame map and other visualizations of the game are another method for manipulating the players without appearing to do so.

Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center

“Because they seem to show the world how it “really is,” maps produce a powerful sense of trust and belief. But maps and data visualizations can never communicate a truth without any perspective at all. They are social objects whose meaning and power are produced by written and symbolic language and whose authority is determined by the institutions and contexts in which they circulate.”

“Some of the maps in this exhibition are deliberately nefarious, created by people or institutions who are trying to mislead or persuade. But for many of the others, the relationship between map and truth is more ambiguous. Some maps dim a certain type of truth in order to let another type of interpretation shine through, while others classify and categorize the world in ways that should raise our skepticism.”

Leventhal Map & Education Center

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