Side-view States

...in ordinary speech there is a slippage between ‘within this region/area/territory’ and ‘within these boundaries/limits/borders’, pointing to the ease with which we can pass between thinking in terms of regions and thinking in terms of boundaries.

—Antony Galton, "On the Ontological Status of Geographical Boundaries," 2003

Side-view States is an atlas visualizing the 50 U.S. state boundaries from the side. Each boundary is programmatically lifted from the physical terrain, then tilted to collapse its area, leaving a trace of its topographic contingencies.

Viewed from above, U.S. state boundaries enclose flat polygons, which differently approximate gridlines, follow natural barriers, or abut the ocean in a jagged edge. “[I]nfinitely thin”[1], they represent and inform the legal and cultural partitions between one state and the next, between what is the U.S. and what is not.

A boundary, of course, is and is not more than a line that demarcates a region. Here, a perspectival shift collapses the distinction between the two.

View an interactive version here.

Notes
  1. Smith, Barry, "On Drawing Lines on a Map," (1995), 479.
Medium
  • Edition of 5 books, +1 AP
Dimensions
  • 7" × 8 9/16" × 1/2"H
Documentation