Lordy Rodriguez
An inherit quality in working with the visual language of maps is the tempting urge to define place and our relation to that place. My earlier works attempted to define identity through space, only to come to the realization that identity influences a place just as much as place influences identity. Case in point, I was born in the Philippines, grew up in Louisiana and Texas, and now I live in Northern California with a few stops in between. Naturally, all of those locations influenced the kind of person I am, but all of those spatial influences congregate onto that space I live in now as I bring cultural habits into my everyday existence in Hayward California. If I were to make a "map" of Hayward, there would be references to Texas, the Philippines, etc. It is the nature of the movement of people. Our histories migrate with us. So it's no surprise that our relationship to place is constantly evolving. One thing I have come to understand more by working with the map visual language is that the language itself, the one in which I've used to define place, is changing as well. I started working with maps at the cusp of a major change in the industry from paper maps to digital maps. Even the handling of maps have change. Gone are the days of unfolding a map in the car to orient oneself. Now it's a matter of the gps understanding you and you understanding it. This digital evolution is what is also driving the evolution of language and communication. The speed in which cultural memes are transferred almost overcome the rate in which we can absorb them. Our vernacular has become a hodge podge of cultural references, metaphors, euphemisms, and sound bites.