Waqwaq explained

Waqwaq is a mythical island in the Medieval Middle Eastern cultures. Although displayed on several maps and described in geographical treatises, it's location varies from source to source, from the East African coast throughout the Indian Ocean to East of China and up to Japan. Its main feature is to host the Talking Tree, which grows human beings as fruits and to which Alexander the Great once came to ask about his destiny.

The task of cultural geography is to represent the world as it is percieved and imagined by humans. However marvelous and their shape fluid, these inner worlds are the only ones accessible to us. Hence the choice of the projects name.

As for the image on the first page of the website, although looking like a topographic map, it conveys the idea of an ever changing geography, since the contour lines are those of a weather chart for 25 February 2009 at noon, the day when the website design was created - not a chart based on recordings of that day of course, but a forecast model issued 15 hours before.

The logo gives a digital cast to the concept, evidently a late night pop-up of the space invaders sprites of the 1980's computer games.


Reference material on Waqwaq:

  • Shawkat Mahmood Toorawa (2002) - "Wak-wak", Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.), vol. 9.
  • Contributor (1936) - "Wakwak", Encyclopaedia of Islam (1st ed), vol. 4.

On-line accessible material:

  • Paul Lunde (2005) - Looking for Waqwaq, "The Seas of Sindbad", Saudi Aramco World, July/August 2005, p. 20-29.

A map showing the location of the Island of Waqwaq (top left corner):

Images of the Talking Tree:

Weather forecast charts:

Paris, France
Waqwaq - mapping cultural geographies

http://www.bernstein.oeaw.ac.at/twiki/bin/view/Waqwaq/ProjNameIdentity · r4 · 26 Oct 2012 · 15:37:32 · VladAtanasiu
Waqwaq: Mapping cultural geographies · http://www.waqwaq.info
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