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Jenny Odell: creative cartographer

My ongoing obsession with Things Organized Neatly recently introduced me to what is likely to become another obsession: Jenny Odell‘s satellite composites. Working entirely from imagery found using Google Earth, Odell chooses a theme like boats (above), silos, parking lots (below) or swimming pools and creates meticulously arranged mazes of those objects. She’s probably working as large as she can with the resources available to her as a student, but I would love to see a wall-sized version of some of these patterns.

Whether or not her own personal obsession with maps began with this project, it’s a theme that carries out into her other work, like her Ministry of Approximate Travel. An exploration in virtual tourism, approximate travel means experiencing certain elements of traveling to a place without physically going there. Relying again on Google Earth as well as user-based sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, Odell’s travel diary recounts the places she ‘went’ and the people she ‘met.’ “This could be anything from the meth-shacks of Trona, to the one-woman opera in Death Valley Junction, to the neurotic lawns of Utah, to the postmodern anxiety of Kansas City, to a wedding reception that went horribly wrong at a Ramada in central Florida, to the color of the trees in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”