Over at HiLobrow, the latest edition of 4CP Friday is curated by Chris Lanier, who observes that zooming in on process printing creates an ambiguous zone between illustration and diagram. Lanier's thesis and his clever choice of a final image reminded me of one of my favorite series of LP sleeve designs, which is surely also one of the forgotten inspirations for the 4CP blog. 

Brian Eno's 1970s ambient albums brilliantly employed extreme zooms of printed maps. These visual cues on the sleeves suggested that the music within was itself an isolated and magnified detail – a pattern of dots, backed by a couple of underlying tones and textures. Blown up, the diagrammatic, information-bearing structure of maps gave way to abstract process-printing art.

As Lanier points out, maps can just as easily emerge from abstraction: The river delta below is smoke from a Jack Kirby Demon panel.
2 responses
Nice to read your citation of Brian Eno's 'mapstract' Ambient series lp covers. Eno's idea was an extension of the 'Conjectural Paintings' series created by his one-time art school instructor Tom Phillips, the latter artist's work having graced Eno's 'Thursday Afternoon' and King Crimson's 'Starless & Bible Black' releases. The Phillips paintings took art museum souvenir postcards as source material. The miniscule paintings seen within a given postcard's gallery photograph would then be magnified and reproduced at 'face value,' benday dots and other flaws faithfully reproduced - yielding a 'conjectural' painting.
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