Our work is the intimidating structure that marks the grassy area between the Sports Center and Hill House. It’s interesting to watch wary foot traffic examine the structure, because although the structure was tall enough that it was easily passable, it came within a close enough range to make people question it, as you could tell by the occasional “ducker”. One of my favorite interactions I watched happen was between two preschoolers, passing through the metal arch, when one of the two children looked perilously at the structure, bowed their body, and charged through.
My conference project slowly seemed to design itself, as it became layered with meaning and markings over the time. I was always fairly confident that I wanted the project to be framed around the book Rebecca- the book is written in a way that provides keep imagery as to the house of the setting- Manderley. I went through the book, tracing the way in which Manderley is detailed, and created a floor plan based upon this. I wanted to give my floor plan a Victorian feel, and did so by including molding and mirroring the architectural styles of the time. I also wanted to use the furniture described in the book, and so I included the pieces into my surface area (the floor plan). I really wanted to tap into the way in which the novel taps into the concept of “invisible” presences, and so I used color to show the presences of Rebecca and Max in Manderley. The narrator of Rebecca seems to constantly feel their presences as she passes her time in the house, and so I tried to display how she spent her time when alone, dwelling in a house that could never feel like her own. In order to show the difference between “time” and “presence” I used different materials. The narrator’s morning (when she is alone in Manderley) is displayed by thick white thread, to characterize her personality of simplicity. The white thread juxtaposes with the strong Victorian colors used for Max and Rebecca; Max is shown in a green watercolor, whereas Rebecca is a deep pinkish-red. Rebecca’s color, I find, is a rather amusing story, in that I was very particular about finding the exact color, and, unable to create the perfect shade with my watercolor palate, I found that the joys of a “Kool-Aid Drink Mix” of fruit punch perfectly solved my conundrum. The map was inspired by Victorian blue prints, but the particular style was very much developed in awe of the highly detailed illustrations of Korky Paul (a children’s book illustrator). I’ve included a picture of the house that Korky Paul drew in my post (top image).
My map shows the way in which the narrator emotionally views the space in which she’s inhabiting; it challenges the question of presence- demanding that one consider the elements that combine in order to create someone’s presence: are they solely physical? are the mainly psychological? In some ways, my conference project is tied to psychogeography, because I’m trying to view the space as the narrator does, and sense the invisible presences of the other characters! I was originally struggling in trying to find a way to show the presences of the other characters in the book, but am now going to use color as a way of doing so. I decided to go for a thick creamy paper, so that the colors I use (including white), will really stand out. I was actually heavily influenced in my illustrative style of the map by children’s illustrations, Korky Paul, in trying to evoke the Victorian homes through huge amounts of high detail.
We are imagining our psychogeographic figure in this way:
- Taking the role of the criminal by stealing the focus of the space, as well as stealing the resources and characteristics of the space, such as light and shape. We’re incorporating the concept of misdirection into our space by refocusing the light using reflective powers.
- Using the criminal figure in order to simultaneously misdirect the viewer, while also revealing a new perspective angle of the space by subjecting it to irregular viewing possibilities. Because the space is both common and public, it’s often traversed in full exposure. The concept of the criminal is almost an antithetical one in comparison to the original state of the space, and we’re looking to re-imagine and re-define the possibilities of the space.
- Responding to our site in these particular ways: mimicking the shape of the space in our arch like triangular sculpture, re-directing the lights, working with steel, mirrors and mesh
We want to incorporate the concept of light and darkness in our project, to represent criminality in our structure. We’re planning on using broken mirrors and glass, to manipulate and reflect the lights in our space. The space is transitional, and we’re interested in making a structure that can be engaged with, even by the average passer-by. We’ve chosen to use steel over wood, because there’s a darker and more criminal connotation to steel. The lights will be surrounded by panels the refocus their energy, playing directly with the duality of “refocusing energy” in a socio-criminal connotation, as well as its physiological connotation. The arches that balance each side of the walkway will be structures from steel, interrupting and re-directing the regularity of the view of the space. They also evoke the idea of bridges, a common site for criminality. In using the triangle form for the arches, the structure is literally “stealing” the concept of the natural space, which is divided into triangles.
My Relationships to My Relationships (In final draft stages of Part 2) In my second draft, I changed many aspects of my original “self-portrait”; after my meeting with Angela, I came to terms with the fact that my original map, while accurate insofar of its truth as a self-portrait, lacked the presence of a map. I found that in first choosing the base for my self portrait (a face), I had chosen an image that controlled me, rather than my controlling it- I had to alter certain aspects of the placements in the portrait and sign system in a way which diluted the “map”-iness, and I wanted to change that in my second draft. So I chose to discard that surface, and instead replaced it with concentric circles. Not only did the circles provide me with more freedom in the size and placement of my symbols, but they also allowed for a less distracting background. I still wanted to retain my original statement, that the separation between myself and the basic human is my relationships, but instead of doing that by showing a skull and my face, I drew myself in the center of my map, holding hands with a skeleton version of me. I also figured out exactly what it was that my map was depicting- My Relationship to My Relationships. In this, I drew lines connecting me with the symbols I used to depict important relationships in my life- however, this was a self portrait, rather than a portrait of relationships, and so I chose to only show my emotions regarding the relationship, rather than depicting both sides’ emotions. I wanted to capture the complexity of my relationships- in that each relationship ties together different concepts that I hold as being important, so I used color as one of my sign systems, creating a multifaceted dimension to the symbolic depictions of my relationships. Different types of lines point from me to the symbols, showing the different emotional connections I have to those relationships, while the concentric circles show the frequency with which I think of those things and emote towards them. I drew arrows pointing from the exact spot on my map to the symbols for them, showing that it is my relationship towards that particular relationship that is being represented, as opposed to a more multifaceted option. ALTHOUGH IN THIS DRAFT THAT I’M UPLOADING, THE IMAGES IN THE CONCENTRIC CIRCLES ARE CUT OUTS FROM PHOTOS OF THE ORIGINAL SKETCHES, THIS WILL NOT BE THE CASE IN THE FULL SIZED EDITION! (Because I found it hard to capture the original vibrancy of the colours- an essential component of the map- I will be using the original sketches rather than photographs of them in my finished draft.) My finished draft, contained of course, slightly different lines, as they were all drawn by hand. The sign system remained the same, but I chose different lines to define the circles that surrounded me, after speaking with Angela. She correctly pointed out that the previous lines were generic circles, and that I could create a circle from something other than a black line. I made my new circles by drawing wreath-like pictures, featuring flowers and small animals; the concept being a garden tea-party to which I invited my closest relationships. Because the circle closest to me is the most prominent, I wanted to give it more power than the one furthest from me, so I added to it small animals. However, I didn’t want my lines to be rigid, to exclude relationships from prevalence, rather I wanted to show a certain mobility and fluidity to my relationships; I did this by allowing an occasional overlap from wreath to wreath, such as the butterfly on the outermost wreath. The wreaths are askew upon the page, to show that no factor can be precisely measured. I was inspired in my circles by the imaginative and detailed work by children’s illustrators, suck as Quentin Blake (Patrick’s violin contains many beautiful images of trees and nature coming to life) and of Korky Paul. I attached my images to the paper by layering them into frames which I cut out from poster-board, to create a factor reminiscent of a family portrait gallery.
I really enjoyed getting a chance to do the self portrait project- it was so much fun getting to learn to use photo shop (something I never expected!!) and getting to do a project on which I had so much autonomy. In the reading, I saw that having this chance to create a map in which I was the soul authority as an empowering position, and I was deeply grateful for it. “Mapmakers who work by themselves, responsive only to their inner voices, are rare—though their numbers are growing29″ (wood 51) I got the rare chance to have complete agency over my map, which was a thrilling experience I had never previously considered. I felt like my map was really quite pictorial, which was very much inspired by the beautiful map of Australia by Jimmy Gleeson. I had really enjoyed the colorful nature of his work, and as someone who really appreciates strong visuals, I found Gleeson’s work to be incredibly stimulating. After having seen his map, I wished for my own work to emulate the visual energy that was construed in his tightly woven as of Australia. As Gleeson chose the outline of the country itself for a portrait, so I chose my own face- although this may seem like an evident choice, I found that there to be a deeper significance to the decision, especially when taking into account that the other background layer was a skull. My theory in using these two images was that in my most essential state, I am human, as is my audience. However, there are certain factors that have changed me from being a human, into being a person. In my case, I found the influences that have engendered my specific individuality to be my relationships with others and myself. This is, essentially, my way of bordering the gap of “this-ness” (me in my primary biological state) and “there-ness” (me in my cohesive social form)- the aspects of the relationships symbolized are the bridges, tunnels, and roads that turn my skull into my face. My map would propose that as a human, I am individualized by these relationships, which it tries to represent. I tried to represent the outside of my face by layering in a photographic portrait of me, and showing a skull- the concept being that the difference making me “Rory” and not just any other sapient being are the things which I consider really deeply important. I wasn’t sure how to make the symbolism of my piece evident, however, so I interlaced a sign system key in text over the surface of my picture- which seemed to solve that quandary. However, I didn’t want the text to take away from the artistic presentation of my self portrait, so I weaved the system into poetic sentences and faded it into the piece, adding texture to it via another layer. I chose the images based upon the things that I felt made me “me”- different important aspects of my relationships with others and with myself, and created symbols to show the different aspects of these relationships. Because I am, as is everyone, in flux, I have come to accept that this map may not be an accurate depiction of the landscape of my personality in years to come- however, I tried my best to ensure that it was, even just temporarily, truthful. I chose images I felt were important to represent facets of powerful relationships in my life- I chose Long Island as an eyebrow, because Long Island represents my home. I made my other eyebrow from a paintbrush, to evidence the creativity inside of me, a plane represents my wanderlust, lips show the power of sex, a cross is my religion and center, my eye is a daffodil as my father, because he used to read me Wordsworth’s Daffodils, my mother is shown as a Hershey Kiss- on my nose- my own way of symbolizing the comfort she provides. My teeth are made from the popcorn of the movie dates that I love in my romantic relationship, and my brothers are two monkeys. The sheep in my left cheek portrays my childhood in Ireland, and the baby on my right cheekbone is my hopes and dreams of having children and teaching. I love skiing more than any other activity, and for my it shows a state of exuberance, as shown by the skis and mountain of my chin. Another eye is made from Wuthering Heights, my favorite novel, showing the joy I have in learning. The background as the Atlantic is indicative of my international life, spent between Ireland and Long Island, and the horses represent familial traditions (my own being the equestrian times that are shared amongst my family), and are located on my forehead!