The World Map A and The World Map B resemble traditional Chinese thread-bound atlases that have been opened to a random page. Although ostensibly representing the world, these maps are filled with deliberate distortions, inaccuracies, and embellishments. The World Map A includes first-world nations and regions, including the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan, while omitting the world’s more impoverished nations. In The World Map B, Hong Hao includes Latin America, Africa, Asia, and, again, an oversized Japan. Cryptic phrases, including “confidential” and “No release is termitted,” are often purposefully misspelled and allude to militaristic intentions. Hong inserts graphics and icons of industrialization and technology, such as satellites and the logo for the Internet Explorer web browser.
Rejecting geographic accuracy, Hong’s satirical maps serve as subjective representations of political, military, and economic power in the world. Hong explained, “I have long been interested in maps, especially historical maps, because they are capable of inspiring ideas on what we take as common knowledge. They are almost the most direct and the most economical way to know the world.”