Future MAPSS: Future Mapping Archives of Pandemic Spaces and Stories
Geography plays a fundamental role in a pandemic condition. From the perception as a challenge at a global scale to the confinement within national borders, from the forced immobility of lockdowns to the reconceptualisation of domestic space, from the new value given to proximity to the virtual journeys we embarked on, many of the experiences we lived—and are still living—involve a reconsideration of the spatial matrix of our lives. Cartography is one of the main tools through which these pandemic spatial experiences have emerged in both collective and individual contexts. The Johns Hopkins University’s traumatic cartography of global diseases and deaths, the iconic maps of red zones, the apps devoted to tracing contacts or building solidarity chains, the infographics of quarantined cities, the creative mappings of artists and activists, the map-like images drawn by children to express an unprecedented situation: A whole universe of cartographic products and practices have followed, and are still following, our paths through the pandemic (and post-pandemic) condition. Why such a need? This project focuses on the psychological, social, cultural and political motivations that built our cartographic imaginaries of the pandemic. It adopts a cultural cartographic approach that investigates maps as practices, experiences and relations. Starting with a set of cartographic visuals collected in diverse contexts, and through a public call for creative maps, the project aims to experiment with current qualitative methodologies in the analysis, interpretation and elicitation of spatial stories about the pandemic to reflect on the role of geography in understanding and processing the pandemic phenomenon. Thus, it aims to contribute to similar initiatives carried out globally in order to build a future archive of pandemic cartographies and narrative mappings.