the mapping thing

research and design

What are the standards and values we adhere to in research and design? What are the (un)written rules, and how can we break them? The Mapping Thing consists of three books that present both process and conclusions of this year-long multidisciplinary research project.

collaboration between Lenh Knaudt and Marieke Pras

In The Mapping Thing we wrote, illustrated and remixed texts to function as starting points for reflecting on themes such as narrative, research, feminism, authority, and design. We did so by interviewing researchers and designers, theoretical analysis and particular narrative revisions.

There were two main design challenges in this project. First, we had to design a structure for a set of books with no objective starting points or prioritized texts. Instead, we aimed for a reading experience guided by association, both in the design of the texts and in the material choices.

Secondly, we had to incorporate different forms of presenting information. For example, the interview section has comics whenever the interviewee used an anecdote, and a section on interpretation has layers of interpretations of the same source text on top of one another.

The processes of writing, interviewing, analysing and designing were intertwined – the hierarchy of ‘write first, design after’ purposefully destabilized. The end result is collected in three books: a main book, an appendix, and a meta book reflecting on the research process. Together they form The Mapping Thing.