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Contiguous U.S. States

| No Comments | Published on September 12, 2012
3state-Custom The content that follows was originally published on the Don Havey website at http://donhavey.com/projects/contiguous-u-s-states/

These prints—part of a larger series—examines both the iconography and geography of the United States of America by algorithmically generating all possible combinations of exactly 2, 3, or 4 contiguous states, e.g. Florida-Alabama-Georgia and Maine-New Hampshire-Massachusetts. The resultant set of “super states” conjures up visions of state alliances and regional resource conflicts, while emphasizing the politically-charged but arbitrary nature of boundaries.

State shapes are scaled using the typical Mercator projection method, distorting each as they would be seen on a standard U.S. map. The uniqueness of some state boundaries–Texas, Idaho, etc.–dominates those of the rectangular Midwestern states, creating a sort of uncanny valley of recognizable but odd icons. The first thing most people say when viewing these prints is “Where is [insert state name here]?” The fact that there are many more than 50 shapes on display takes a back seat to our first instinct to classify the composition as a repeated bunch of standard U.S. states.

Generated using PHP using an iterative adjacency-finding algorithm, then composited using photo contact sheet software.

 

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