Blog: Creativity, fashion, and globes

High fashion and old maps were the last thing I expected to see together.

This morning I was half-watching a reality show, “House of DVF” while I hit my first 2 cups of tea and checked some historic article downloads for missing OCR layers. [My primary motivational habit is to work on computer housekeeping chores at the beginning of any work session. Warms the brain up for more intense writing.]

I identify with DVF Diane von Furstenberg. She’s old and intelligent. Quality is a religious experience. Diane’s show about selecting a brand minion is not as good as Project Runway which I’ve been addicted to for years. It’s not for the clothes, which look pretty useless most of the time. I like these shows because they reveal how painful sustained creativity can be, regardless of the medium.

Anyway…This episode of DVF was droning in the background while I worked…until Diane called her apprentices into her office to cut one from the show. I looked up from my OCR work to watch someone get fired.

A relief globe appeared onscreen. It wasn’t a shy, stylized globe from the decorator’s bin. Wow, this globe was an 18-inch heavy relief globe with a scribed graticule, a metal stand, and a 23 degree axial tilt. If it had a metal meridian, it was moved to the back side. Not much hypsometric shading, flat ocean floor, and no apparent political map overlay.  Looks like it’s from the 1950s or 60s.

Old relief globe shown on House of DVF October 2015, screenshot by author

Old relief globe shown on House of DVF October 2015, screenshot by author

I backed up the live stream, grabbed my Surface and took some screenshots (above). Why would DVF have this big globe in her office? Not for decorative reasons, surely. It seems oddly heavy in an office of lifetime achievement awards, orchids, and dress fabrics. I was intrigued. I want to call up the show and ask about it.

The producers liked the globe, too, as they shot the team at another table and got the cameraman behind the globe and put it in focus (image below).

The best collection of globes anywhere is at the American Geographic Society AGS Library in Milwaukee, WI. They have a great Flickr page with photos of their globes. Globes are accurate, efficient, compact, and beautiful. Not only can students learn more about applied mapping with a globe but, in data science terms, decisions from a globe feel accurate and beautiful. A globe also has the effect of making you feel insignificant and humble. Maybe this is why DVF likes it. Insignificance is incredibly freeing for creativity.

Or maybe it just goes with the furniture?

The girl with the dark hair got fired.


Long shot past relief globe on House of DVF