Place names are too happy and celebratory. The Pleasantvilles and Happy Valleys of the world have dominated our emotional and physical landscape for too long! Thankfully, an Instagram account to change that has arrived.
sadtopographies is highlighting dreary, anxious, scary, and depressing place names around the world. Each post consists of a screenshot from Google Maps and a snippet of information about where the pictured place is located. The posts are equal parts enlightening, funny, and evocative, depending on your mood. Here's Tragedy Pool, in Australia:
Or Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya, which means "where the devil urinates," also in Australia:
The account has been active for 2 weeks now, and has put up 38 posts.
After doing some painstaking data journalism I determined that the United States is the most represented country on the account the moment by far: 23 out of 38 posts were in the U.S. Canada and Australia are runners-up, with 7 and 5 locations, respectively. Hopefully we get to see more non-English language posts soon.
Some themes also definitely emerge. Sad and/or dead dogs, for instance:
Or death in general.
Seriously, lots of death:
As well as feelings of futility and regret, often near water.
And of course, the big one:
The account is so new that it's hard to say how far its creator can go with this. And really, isn't every place name sad if you think hard enough about it?
But in the meantime, I'd like to suggest a personal favorite: the Road to Nowhere and the End of Road to Nowhere in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada (conveniently and/or scarily located near a shooting range).
You can see more of sadtopographies on Instagram.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org