Artist Jennifer Maravillas is fascinated with cartography. She has painted maps of London, San Francisco and Manhattan. Now Maravillas is working on a map of Brooklyn, but instead of using traditional material, she is compiling it entirely out trash found throughout the borough.
The projected, 71 Square Miles, is so-called because that is the size of Brooklyn. To curate her map, Maravillas is walking the entire 71 square mile area, block by block, scouring for pieces of paper , to add to her 10 foot by 10 foot outline. While lottery tickets and phone cards are some of the most common trash found, Maravillas likes to find pieces that reveal a story about the block. She tells Atlantic Cities:
I love handwritten notes, kids’ drawings, things like that. I’ve found a few love letters that are really sweet. That’s a little sad at the same time.
Maravillas has been working on her map since February 2012, when she was splitting her time between San Francisco and Brooklyn. It began as a way for her to get out, see the borough and gain a better understanding of it. She now lives there full-time and hopes to complete her map by 2014. Her cartography of Brooklyn allows any viewer to get a sense of the different neighborhoods of the place. She says:
Brooklyn is a really interesting place from a global perspective because of the diversity here. The map is serving as a tool for people to see the borough. Connecting people – that’s the idea of a map.
Watch Maravillas collect the ephemera that makes up 71 Square Miles in a video by Animal New York: