'Spawn Of Gerrymander' Illustrates the Grotesque Shapes of US Congressional Districts

As election day approaches, see illustrated visions of the truly strange shapes congressional districts have taken on through gerrymandering.

by Beckett Mufson
Nov 3 2014, 8:30pm

Images courtesy of Rob Walker

Tomorrow is voting day, a day when citizens throughout the United States celebrate their democracy by choosing their favorite local and state representatives in midterm elections. Thousands of voters will head to the polls in the Frankenstein-esque districts remixed in the Rob Walker-curated political illustration series, Spawn of Gerrymander, which depicts the grotesque forms voting districts have taken on via gerrymandering.

The series is a throwback to the classic 1800s political cartoon Gerrymander (pictured above), that first called attention to Massachussets governor Eldbridge Gerry's practice of strategically realigning the borders of congressional districts to influence election results. "I was randomly listening to a political reporter on some NPR show talking about how skilled both parties have gotten at drawing district lines to protect incumbents," Walker told The Creators Project. "This reminded me of the gerrymandering illustration, and I did a little bit of random research and was just really underwhelmed by how today's most insane-looking districts tend to be rendered so blandly."

His reaction was to commission a slew of illustrators he'd met throughout his journalistic endeavors, which range from columns for The New York Times and Yahoo Tech, to articles for Design Observer, Fast Company, and more, to illustrate their own visions of what gerrymandered districts look like. Walker paid his artists through a grant from The Awesome Foundation’s Awesome Without Borders chapter, and Design Observer first hosted the Spawn of Gerrymander series.

The original Gerrymander was named as a portmanteu between Governer Gerry's surname and the salamander-like shape his Democratic-Republicans had morphed a district into. In the images from Spawn of Gerrymander below, find the similarly monstrous shapes Walker's six illustrators have seen America's districts take.

Joe Alterio, Maryland's 3rd

Leif Parsons, Illinois 4th

Lisa Cognden, North Carolina's 4th

Oliver Munday, Florida's 5th

Steve Brodner, Pennsylvania's 7th

Jennifer Daniel, Texas' 35th

Visit Design Observer's dedicated Spawn of Gerrymander page to find Walker's original curation of the pieces.

h/t Rob Walker, Design Observer


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