Map bag

Topo_bag

This shopping plastic bag is decorated with a map of downtown metropolitan Chongqing. It is centered around the commercial heart of the city, and is emblazoned above with the phrase, “Beautiful and sanitary city”. I am perplexed by the role this bag is ostensibly meant to serve. By only depicting the center of downtown, is it implying that those residents who reside beyond this limited area within Chongqing are outside the bounds of the “beautiful and sanitary” part (indeed, the market at which I found this bag for sale was not within the mapped area depicted on the bag)? For this very same reason, its utility is limited – how useful is knowing a city’s appearance on a map if your present location within that city is “beyond the edges”?

Also, there are the more practical concerns of actually reading the map on the side of the bag while there are objects inside of the bag, forcing one to look rather silly as one holds the bag up at eye-level or removes its contents and flattens it out upon a smooth surface in order to interpret it.

Consider how “universal” this bag is: how would a map of your context – urban, rural, or otherwise – appear on the side of a plastic shopping bag? Consider what would make it on, and what would be relegated to the invisible space beyond the edges.

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