8 Jan

Map of the Week: Monarchs & Queens

Monarchs & Queens By: Katelyn Neff

“Artist Mona Caron and cartographer Ben Pease joined forces to create Monarchs and Queens, 2010, a map of San Francisco juxtaposing butterfly habitats and queer hangout spaces, part of an exhibition-and-book project by author Rebecca Solnit”

Maps visualize what we don’t see or sometimes overlook, they allow us to overcome barriers and interact with the physical space that we occupy. Infinite City, Rebecca Solnit’s rendition of the atlas, takes us on a journey through the San Francisco Bay Area to find out how meaning and place intertwine. The maps depict stories and landscapes experienced by the artists and real inhabitants.

This specific map “Monarchs and Queens, Butterfly Habitats and Queer Public Spaces” features the native butterfly population and their habitats, juxtaposed with many LGBT landmarks in San Francisco. The butterflies and queer public spaces fit well together because both communities thrive in the spaces they occupy. Due to the area’s unique ecological climate, distinct species of butterflies have developed and flourished. For similar reasons as the flourishing butterfly population, the LGBTQ community has also been able to thrive in the city which has been a leader in queer rights since the 1960’s.

The artist has given new life and interpretation to a traditional map. Maps tell stories, explain phenomenon, help us get to where we’re going, and now they understand the world that is happening around us on a more intimate level.