Sometimes, if you turn a urinal on its side, you get art (now in the Tate Modern in London, England):
Here’s an excerpt about turning maps on other sides from “Dreaming Upside-Down” by Tom Peterson (sorry I didn’t include a link to the original – it seems to have been on a now-defunct geocities page):
I dreamed the other night that all the maps in the world had been turned upside down. Library atlases, roadmaps of Cincinnati, wall-sized maps in the war rooms of the great nations, even antique maps with such inscriptions as “Here be Dragons” were flipped over. What had been north was now south, east was west. […]
In my dream, a cloud of anxieties closed around me. The United States was now at the bottom. Would we have to stand upside-down, causing the blood to rush to our heads? Would we need suction-cup shoes to stay on the planet, and would autumn leaves fall up? […]
Other things troubled me more. Now that we’re at the bottom, would our resources and labor be exploited by the new top? Would African, Asian, and Latin American nations structure world trade to their advantage? […]
It was just a bad dream. I drifted back to sleep, thinking, “It’s all right, I’m still on top.”
(The longer form asks a few more questions, most of which disregard existing inequalities within the United States to make a broader point about lived social injustices and how they may be reinforced through cartographic representations.)
Arguably, all maps present a perspective. Some present (or offer) non-standard (or unexpected, or uncanny) perspectives on the world.
In Pictorial Maps, Nigel Holmes suggests that readers “[t]ake a different look at the world: new relationships are noticed when the map is turned upside down” (1991: 145). (Then something about how scissors don’t have a fixed “mental viewpoint,” hence the scissors in the image above.)
Then again, some “new” perspectives are just selling you something (be it a copy of the map or books or cigarettes or academic journals or magazines! And that’s not to say that the images above aren’t selling you something, too.):
Indeed, the 1925 Surrealist manifesto (as seen in You Are Here by Katharine Harmon, 2004, gift from Jim Jim) warns:
Even more than patriotism – which is a quite commonplace sort of hysteria, though emptier and shorter-lived than most – we are disgusted by the idea of belonging to a country at all, which is the most bestial and least philosophic of the concepts to which we are all subjected… Wherever Western civilization is dominant, all human contact has disappeared, except contact from which money can be made – payment in hard cash.
(The images, as astute readers may have noticed, link to sources and / or further reading.)