You already know, because I have ranted about it on numerous occasions, that the end of the semester is when the campus is so abustle with open studios and film festivals and graceful dance performances and erudite final papers and unfathomable performance art presentations that it could make a passing moose feel culturally enriched. What you don’t know, and I’m sure you are awesomely curious, is that the highlight for yours truly was a display of maps in the dining hall. Yeah, maps. I’m talking about student projects from the Introduction to Cartography class, taught by mathematics professor Matt Ollis and history professor Adam Franklin-Lyons.
There were big maps and little maps, bright maps and oblique maps, digital maps incorporating the very latest in mapping technology and hand-drawn maps using the very latest in colored-pencil technology. There were sobering maps, like sophomore Eddie Higgins maps charting mass killings in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and surprising maps, like senior Eliza Rudegeair’s brilliant map of speeches in Act One, Scene Two of Hamlet—I’m not kidding. Of course, Marlboro being Marlboro, the most popular thing to map was Marlboro being Marlboro.
There’s an interactive map of trails around Marlboro by junior Ian Hitchcock, a map of sounds around the college by senior Kara Hamilton, a map of smokers on campus by freshman Jonah Nonomaque, and a map of what parts of the library are being used by students over time by Kelsey Gibson. I mean, these students made the NSA look like elementary school playground stuff. But my favorite, as you might know from all the images I’m sharing this instant through the modern miracle of the internet, was a glimpse of Marlboro from the perspective of crusty, old historical maps.
These amazing maps by sophomore Kelly Hickey are inspired by the mappa mundis of Medieval Europe (top), the Codex Mendoza of the Spanish conquistadors (middle), and the Tizoc Stone, a giant Aztec cosmographical map (bottom). But while the original Tizoc Stone is about six feet across, carved of solid basalt, and used for human sacrifices, Kelly’s version is a more Marlboro-scaled 16 inches across, crafted from stoneware, and would make a really nice cup holder. Instead of images of blood-thirsty warriors engaged in battle, Kelly decorated the outside of her stone with more familiar Marlboro scenes like skiing, studying, partying, and pressing cider. Now, I don’t know how those feathered gentry of 15th-century Tenochtitlán would feel about that, but to those of us chowing in the dining hall that day (most of us unaccustomed to human sacrifice), it was pretty awesome.