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.
When I worked on the initial map where I was hoping to use music that I had created over a period of time to create a landscape where life events could be read in terms of topographic data. In a way this was a response to a lecture given here as part of the science lectures series a year ago given by Dr. Patrick Muchmore where he called the composer “an explorer of abstract landscapes.” In thinking about this concept I wanted to combine a way of presenting non-musical meanings visually that could be used as interpretations both for non abstract events and abstract musical events. Not reaching a satisfactory exploration of this concept I scraped my work and instead put together a less personal piece focusing on genealogy. Not doing the initial project made me think a lot about what kind of symbols exit in music, if any at all, and if there is a difference between “real” performed music and “virtual” – or “actualized” music that exists in a realized form of notation or thought but not in sound. The concept of whether the beauty or meaning of music exists only in a syntactical form of mathematical relationships that produce certain tones, or if it is contained in a system of semiotics either made clear to a listener through titles and program notes or even biographical information about the creator. In my map I presented a land mass that is covered mostly by musical staves, often distorted to run the island, the southmost tip contained musical quotations. The four corners contain all the non-quotation elements in the map – described in not musical or ambiguous terms. The mark for silence is given “This is the task”. The fermata for holding a note is listed as “Until”. The dominant symbols combine to form, in terms of musical instruction, the meaning of “Hold this Silence indefinitely very loudly”. To me this motif serves as a biographic text – as for most of my life I was forbidden to practice a musically informed life. Shadows of bombers are placed across the islands – once printed I applied torn out strips of my own composition over these shadows – making them hostile elements against the message of the landmass. I was inspired by the Icelandic invasion map that was show by our visiting cartographer. As I sought to find a meaningful connection from the history of cartography. Using the layers of printed I wanted convey the different levels that a work can exist at – both at the silent and conveyed and the expressed and internalized by listeners – and perhaps also viewers.
Detailed look: This map I made was basically a idea of showing net total of migrants during the period 1980-2014. The net total of migrants is the total number of immigrants deduct the annual number of emigrants, including citizens and noncitizen. According to data, there are more migrants in U.S and other wealthier such as Germany and the share of middle-income nations such as India and Mexico immigrants has grown these years. The shirts occurred as the total number of international migrants rose from 154 million in 1990 to 232 million in 2014, accounting for almost 3% of the global populations. During the period, the U.S remained the largest destination country and still increased share of the world’s migrants. There are 46 million migrants (one-in-five) now in the United States slight less than one-in-six of 23 million in 1990. All told, 69% of international migrants now live in high-income countries (average per capita income of $ 12,616 or higher), up from 87 million, or 57%, in 1990. The high income countries, many of them in North America and Europe appear increasingly attractive to modern migrants as they pursue job opportunities and higher living standard. So where do today’s migrants come from? The most of them come from the middle-income countries as what World Bank designates. The share of immigrants born in high-as well as low-income nations has declined. Once they move across borders, a lot of migrants send money back to families in their countries of origin. Despite a decreasing during the 2009 global recession, the overall annual flow of money has tripled since 2000 and now tops $500 billion. The economic importance of remittances is larger in poorer countries than in richer ones. The money account for 8% of the gross domestic product in low-income nations, 2% in middle-income nations and less than 1% in high-income nations, according to analysis of World bank data. The U.S has always been the world’s largest number of international migrants over the time. The number of immigrants in the U.S doubled from 23 million people in 1990 to 46 million in 2013. And has also become a major recipient of migrants from countries with large numbers of emigrants. The inspiration of map comes from Denis wood’s Everything Sings. The main concept of doing the mapping is to create a map of the place of experience, which is also considered to be the most important thing by Dennis Wood. The map is unseen and no one would actually pay attention to. Our eyes are seem no important, rather than perceive the world with eyes, we sense and reproduce the world using nose (smell), hands (sensory), body (movement), ears (sound), and language (communication).
For my conference, I created a visual representation of my own network in freelance film production. I traced the outlines of Brooklyn and Manhattan to show where these films/commericals were produced, and I aligned them in chronological order (going clockwise), starting with Pillsbury, which I worked on in 2011. All of my personal contacts are on this map, organized by the jobs on which I met them. Every contact has a different color, and there is a line for everytime I worked with them. So, for example, Paula Cohen has seven lines, but Rachel Taylor only has two. Dave Clark has three lines but because I’m not very close with him, I made his line thinner. I only worked with Donna Imbarato twice, but I became very close with her so I made her lines hot pink so as to be noticed. Ultimately, this is a map of the invisible because it’s a map of where I stand in my work environment . I haven’t made much of anything, so my network is everything. I act as a flaneur (or maybe as a stalker) by keeping up with these people on linkedin and facebook. They don’t know the extent to which I watch them. But what often happens is that they change companies, or start new businesses on their own, and that’s when I reach out. I’ll ask if they remember me from ____ ______ and ________, and I’ll ask if they could use someone with my skillset to help them get started on their new endeavor.
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 conference project took a few turns as I searched for written messages to map throughout the SLC Campus. I took pictures of most of the campus, and found that the places with the most graffiti were either bathroom stalls, or desks at the library. There were many messages of different kinds – band names, existential statements, people being mean, but I realized after a while that the library had something special going on that made it very interesting: people would write things, and other people would reply to those things, and at times I would see 3 or 4 generations of messages on one desk. I realized that I wanted to not only map graffiti to its location on campus, but I also wanted to find a way to map out these conversations as they seemed to have played out. I wanted to document these frozen conversations, because I think they are an interesting slice of human nature. Every message on my map has been transcribed from photographs I took while sweeping the campus. I used purple lines to indicate a message’s location. The purple lines were set by placing a map of SLC that I had previously made underneath, and then mapping ontop of it. I later removed the map because I was hoping to emphasize location less and the text more – still, the fact that many of these messages came from the same relative location was important to include. Documented Photos | Map Overlay | Map Detail 1 | Map Detail 2 I tried to do as much documenting as possible and to let the graffiti speak for itself. The messages in blue are statements and the text in red are replies. There are red lines with arrows indicating the flow of conversation, i.e., the target of the reply. There are 2 messages in red which had no observable target where they were written, and yet, they both seem to be replies to the general conversation and I felt that they needed to be in red because they were definitely addressing somebody (or somebodies). I used my sketchbook to work out my connection system. I was inspired by Dennis Wood’s Graffiti Maps in Everything Sings, and I was also inspired by Pollock, Cameron Booth’s NYC Subway Maps, and Marc Lombardi’s maps. NYC Subway Map | Dennis Wood’s Map | Marc Lombardi | Sketchbook Detail
For my map, I wanted to do something that involved the way we map emotions across media. For my last project, I mapped my depression across multimedia and bodily existence, but I wanted to do something more poetic and less straightforward this time. I was a big fanboi when I was much younger with regards to gay male fanfiction specifically, and had recently got back into it because of a reconsideration of the dynamics involved in tumblr slashfic/”shipping” culture, as well as because my boyfriend was into it. When I read Laura Mulvey last year, I wrote a little about the implications of the community’s gender dynamics: a population of mostly young women imagine a fantasist homosexual life for their favorite characters, which saves these characters from the poisonousness of their stoic masculinity, heterosexuality, and violence, or at least helps them accept the nature of these issues. These women use the techniques of screenshotting, making gifs, fanart, and fan writing to feminize the characters by detaching them from the narratives of their stories and objectifying them. They also uphold and liberate their masculinities in their sexuality; often these characters are not even presented as gay-identified, simply desiring of each other. I identified with the commonly accepted ideas around Captain America (Steve Rogers) and the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes. I identified with the narrative presented of two men who had been through huge psychological and physical changes in their lives, but still managed to find their way back together. Rogers is born a sickly and thin boy in the late 1920s, takes an experimental serum that makes him grow into a super-soldier, becomes an overnight sensation and an unstoppable weapon, and is eventually cryogenically frozen during a heroic suicide, only to be thawed out in the 21st century. His childhood best friend Barnes dies while serving during WWII in Rogers’s unit, only to be frozen himself and come back brainwashed as a Soviet super-assassin assigned to kill Rogers. After some mutual beatdowns, Rogers breaks him out of his conditioning and the two reunite, nearly 100 years after their original lives began. As told by fans, it is a classic masculine gay story about two muscular and sad men, who, having known each other and been best friends growing up, are usually presented as soulmates. Regardless of their canon sexualities, their story is both emotionally and physically deep. For me, Rogers’s growth to physical masculinity through chemicals paralleled my transsexualism, and Barnes’s sadness and identity confusion paralleled my depression and dysphoria. These men, in their imagined relationship, had something admirable and resonant to me that I could seek to emulate: a love that was about friendship and care, but that also acknowledged the reality of trauma, identity splits, and hurting one another. As I started a new relationship with someone who had simular experiences of trauma and transness to me, I sought this love as an ideal. I wanted to be good, understanding, and giving in a way that I had only seen in tandem with masculinity and violence in the context of fanfiction. My partner also introduced me to the 70s cop drama Starsky and Hutch. The relatiomship between the eponymous leads of the show contains dynamics simular to that of Barnes and Rogers, in that there was a blond and a brunette, who were both about muscles and masculinity, but also constantly struggling to take care of each other in an unforgiving and violent world. Violence on the show allows for homoeroticism and femininity in the context of the two comforting each other. It was these elements (my identification with the different men and their journeys, my belief in the gendered power of fan imagination, and my desire to be good for my partner in the queer way that these men were good for each other) that came together into my conference project. Through collage poetry layered over fanart and screenshots, some of them lightly edited, I explore the ways in which my mind layered these different elements. I “mapped” the path of my mind through these love stories, emphasizing my own, in the spaces of the internet, time, fantasy, trauma, and reality. I used text from my own writing, as well as relevant passages from fanfiction and academic writing. I set the project into a timeline from an online template in order to get my desired narrative flow and to emphasize time as a setting. The project maps the invisible ways in which media portrayals of relationships affect our thinking, especially about our real-life romances. I was seeking to shed light on how, instead of learning from romance movies or pornography, a marginalized subject such as myself must seek out other models for romantic ideals. I journey through a collective fantasy media, its existence itself a mapping of ruptures in heterosexual masculinity, to learn a queer utopian ethics that is unique to my own romantic project. Lastly, I wanted the form itself to feed back into the larger fan project of mapping the invisible and communal world of fantasy, especially female and trans fantasy. I wanted a fan to be able to read it and like it. You can see the project by clicking here. It is hosted on my tumblr because wordpress does not support embeds. TW for trans(boy) feels, bdsm including bloodplay, violence, maybe a lil body horror/sexual trauma weirdness. I suggest you zoom in to 150% as i haven’t quite gotten the embedding right yet. It does not show up on mobile.
We agreed on the idea of playing with elevation and maze. Our site is Marshall Field. Since the site is surrounded by different elevations(people can sort of see the place from the back door of Heimbold) The viewers are able to see the layout of our maze structure pretty clearly on the steps (sort of being “visionary”) Also, we uses a lot of different materials to decorate our structure skeleton. While people interact with our marker. They experience a completely differently from seeing it above or outside. We considered our site to be pretty deserted. So we thought about a lot of how to attract people to our site. We play with sound and light reflections using foil papers. It was really successful. The process of working a group project was really fun. It was both harder and easier. It was hard to get everyone to meet and work on our project. It was easy when everyone divided the works which made everything done in a short amount of time. Also it was great to hear everyone’s idea and ways of thinking and working. We really enjoyed this project and it was a great success!
My map defines the process of determining where people are most happy on our campus. It also maps the personal, social, and intellectual fulfillment according to where people live based on the results of a survey I administered for my psychology class. My project changed quite a bit from my original plans as troubleshooting occurred. One major setback was my inability to draw architecturally accurate buildings, and I really wanted to give each structure the credit and intricacy it deserved. I didn’t anticipate this to be a problem, so I first intended my map to be very pictorial. So, an unforeseen discovery or solution was to use a similar method as my self-portrait. The concentric circles I used in my first piece did a really effective job of showing the magnitude of an idea or concept, which is really what I was looking to do here. So I implemented the same aesthetic, a mathematical and sterile visual approach to an invisible concept. I wanted to use a clean and almost cold visual representation to evoke the sterility and clinical feel of acquiring and analyzing data for a scientific purpose. I also had some trouble with deciding what exactly to include on the map. Our campus has a number of buildings and structures that are important to the landscape but did not appear in my data. I had to decide which truth I wanted to reveal: the architectural and visual accuracy or the truth of my analyzed data. This choice was difficult for me to make, so I used smaller filled-in circles to show the Mead Way houses as existing, but not important to my empirical data. I used a blue palette to evoke placid emotions and also watercolor for the road system on campus, to create the feeling of rivers flowing instead of pavement, a much happier and more peaceful material. The reading of Psychogeography really influenced this map because it was a somewhat visionary experience, though it was not in anyway political. I attempted to transform the current environment into something with a bright future, traversing the land with a purpose and awareness that seeks to contribute a message to the landscape. It helped me to see the campus in a whole new light, hear new sounds and read into the particulars what I see everyday.
One of the main criticisms of my last draft was that because both locations were represented with the same line pattern, there didn’t seem to be any discernible difference between the quality of one place over the other. Therefore, my map has undergone a subtle shift in design that is meant to better reflect the qualitative differences between both places. First, I got rid of all of the days in which I didn’t go to the location, which I had previously represented with a black line. I also added the variable of line length to represent the time spent at each place for that day. In addition, I further split up both patterns with colored sections, red being WARM (good) and blue being COLD (bad). I arranged both patterns in a circle, with the Pub (right) cutting off at the top and facing downwards, which emphasizes both the length of the lines and the negativity that is tied to it. In contrast, the Andrews Backyard (left) has more lines and is more vibrant with more red lines than blue. I believe, overall, the project did achieve the goal of mapping an invisible event, that being the evolution of my time spent in locations I desire to go to versus locations I don’t want to see as often. I do question the impartiality of the data, given the fact that so much of my mood is dependent on external forces such as the weather and the knowledge that I’m recording my behavior, however I don’t think the intervention of those two factors necessarily negates the results, it merely frames them. Indeed, the project could be described as a motivational intervention of my free time, with purely visual records of how my actions changed thusly.
For my conference project I wanted to go off of my previous map. I was happy with my self-portrait but finally I realized it had too much information. My idea about national identity didn’t come across as much as I initially intended it to. That is why I’m dedicating a whole map to this thought. When I started contemplating on how I would want to map this idea of national identity that became prominent when I started college this year, I knew that I wanted to base it off of places around campus. Another thing I new was that because I wanted it to be “simpler” than my previous map, with less information, I wanted it to be more visually impacting. At the beginning of the semester, when I started collecting materials for this course, I turned to a family friend who used to be an art teacher. She gave me all types of materials she had from those years: from old sketchbooks to beautiful colored pencils. In her package, was a stack of papers with an interesting looking grid printed on them. I knew I wanted to use them in a project. But I had forgotten all about them until I recently rescued the stack when trying to figure out what format I wanted to use for this project. It’s not that I randomly picked them up and decided to use it on the spot- I was able to connect the peculiar grid that appealed me with my idea on national identity. As you can see, the grid forms many triangles. With them I wanted to represent a duality that recently became a triality when I started college. The initial duality was composed by my two backgrounds: the Spanish and the American. This third side represents a new state, product of the two original ones. It’s an undetermined state that I don’t fully understand, but that I know is there. Therefore what I have decided to map is this uncertain state that came about when I moved to Sarah Lawrence. So what better place to map this feeling than our campus? I decided to take four places around campus where I’ve noticed myself being aware of my national identity throughout my first year here. Those being: Bates, Titsworth, the Library and Hill House. I chose to represent them with a circle for two reasons: on the one hand I wanted to make a contrast with the very geometrical appearance of the grid. On the other, circles tend to be indicative of location (in this sense, also creating a conceptual contrast because on my map they represent, in a very standard and defined way, a place where I feel myself undefined and questioning). I caught myself thinking about my identity for different reasons in each of those places- but that wasn’t something I wanted to map, because ultimately, it comes down to the same feeling, regardless of where I am.
My Piece: Like most white girls, I love smoothies. And like most people raised in modern Western culture, I have no idea where most of my food is sourced from. In this project, I sought to combine my passion for smoothies with my passion for knowledge as to where my food comes from. My map was inspired by the “signing off” broadcast video from the 1950s that Angela showed us in class. Although I’m sure the video wasn’t intended to be visually appealing when it was first produced, I thought it was beautiful. I loved the glitchiness and the overt patriotism. I found it hilarious that the national anthem was played every single night. I felt that this was a really amazing portrait of American culture and nationalistic propaganda at the time. My map was also inspired by American Reflexxx, a short film by Alli Coates and performance artist, Signe Pierce. In the film, Signe obscures her face and sexualizes her body (much like I did) in an attempt to see public reaction to this. For my project, I decided to do a sort of modern twist on this. We don’t have “sign offs” from cable television anymore, now, we have porn. I feel like this is also a great depiction of American culture at this time. So I decided to do a performance in which I would become a caricature of the modern day porn star. I purposely obscured my face so that the piece was not about me, but any woman. Also due to the fact that in modern mainstream pornography, female faces are frequently obscured to contribute to their objectification. I was quite honestly very inspired by Miley Cyrus and her usage of the grotesque combined with the sexual. The blender itself is a fascinating object. It has it’s links to domesticity and the kitchen, however it is very masculine- both in it’s phallic shape and in it’s overt power. Throughout the piece, the character seems to be getting some sort of erotic feedback from the blender. It’s relationship to a vibrator is uncanny. While sexualized depictions of women fascinating and visually exciting and people start media fires over this, it isn’t the most important thing. How many mainstream news channels covered Miley Cyrus’ VMAs performance? Meanwhile, how many mainstream news channels are covering the fact that many tomato farmers in Florida only receive 45 cents for every 32 pound bucket of tomatoes they produce? Or that they are 50% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer due to the pesticides they’re exposed to? Yeah, thought so. What’s important is understanding where our food is sourced from and effects our food system has on our planet and human rights. Scene Breakdown: In the first scene, I am trying to situate the performance by stating the latitude and longitude of where I live and where the performance was filmed- Bronxville, NY (40.9400° N, 73.8261° W). The second scene, I am looking at bananas. It was difficult to get to the bottom of where exactly my banana came from, but Chiquita’s website vaguely told me it was from Guatemala, so I used the longitude and latitude of Guatemala, 14.6333° N, 90.5000° W. I wanted to explore the political tragedy that occurred there. I used a background with Samuel Zemurray, the president of United Fruit- the American corporation that was responsible for pressuring the US government to overthrow the democratically leader, Colonel Jacobo Arbenz in 1953 and replace him with a military dictator, Col. Carlos Castillo Armas. This is a stark history that most people don’t think about or want to acknowledge when they look at The third scene, I am looking at tomatoes. Most of the tomatoes we receive off season, come from Immakolee, Florida- 26.4211° N, 81.4228° W. They are predominantly picked by immigrant laborers whom are subjected to unfair wages, horrible living conditions, and even violence from supervisors if they fail to meet daily quotas. They are also subjected to an obscene amount of pesticides. The fourth scene, I am looking at cacao powder. The cacao powder that I eat comes from Peru. Again it was difficult to find where in Peru, so I said the coordinates of Peru -12.0433° S, 77.0283° W – Although the package claims that it is “sustainably sourced,” deeper research showed me that a great deal of the cacao that I eat contributes to the clearing of Peruvian rain forests for agricultural land. The growing demand for chocolate only contributes to this. Throughout the piece I thought it was important to combine a preset map of the place I was looking at, as well as create a map of the place through imagery that isn’t frequently circulated- therefore making rainforest destruction, horrendous labor conditions and neocolonialism visible. The fifth scene, the character is blending all of these coordinates together and essentially orgasming. The overt recognition of how far our food is combined with the power of the blender, causes great female pleasure- however, the character hasn’t broken out of the confines of femaleness so she is continuously oscillating between the “kitchen” and the dildo. Her pleasure throughout the experience is indicative of everything finally coming together And finally, this scene is deemed to inappropriate for the American public, so the broadcasters cut to her in a subordinate position- essentially giving the blender fellatio. The voiceover of the coordinates is completely drowned out by the national anthem. This is deemed far more patriotic than showing any kind of pleasure or truth. At the end the character is fed up and the broadcast signs off, leaving the viewer to draw their own conclusions. Inspiration: American Reflexxx by: Signe Pierce and Alli Coates (2015) Semiotics of the Kitchen by: Martha Rosler (1975) WNEW- TV New York Sign Off (1984)
My final map: The “making the invisible visible” idea of my map is visualizing the inner world and let the feelings blend into the real world. The real world is presented through recording myself through camera. It is the catching moment of the past and makes it last forever in the photograph. The inner world is presented through my drawings of things and feelings. The merge of two aspects of looking at life creates a tension between the invisible and the visible. Through out my process, I did not change a lot in terms of my idea. I only had to adjust some ways of presenting the map. Such as a more playful calendar surface. Instead of dates, I use feelings and notes. Also making the calendar the connection system. My new surface and connection system: As I said in my draft. This project process was not same as my usual routine. I was not that paranoid about planning all the steps before I start doing actual work for the project. And it turned out to be less intense and more surprised as I went on doing it. It was really great to know that. What I took the most from our class discussion was it changed my way of looking and thinking in everyday life. I think of site-specific all the time. Being a better observer of my own life definitely contribute a lot to this project. Close ups:
This is the sketch of my map surface: My process of doing this conference project was quite different from my usual routine. I used to make plans and tried to think everything through before starting. However, this time I tried to reduce my complicated planning in advance and start play around my project visually. I took the chance of spring vacation to have my friend take many great photographs of me on our trip to the Bahamas. And played around with them on the photoshop. Here are some images of my signs: I am going to map out my feelings either of the time that the photo was taken or the feelings that I had when I saw the photos. Some of them are abstract and some of them are concrete. My map is going to define my invisible thoughts and feelings. And I am making them visible on my map. It is a combination of real life(recording of my moments through camera) and world of thoughts(things going on in my mind). The surface is a calendar. The sign system is my collection of photos. And the connection system are my feelings. My project is going to be a print out. I am doing most of my work on photoshop and my own sketches. The technic and style of doing my sketches came from the artist Abby Phillips(outside of class). The book on psychogeographic from our class discussion.
In a previous draft of this map, the main focus of my project was to use a series of circles, with each layer of the circle representing a different fear. The closer to the center of the circle, the deeper the fear. However, while working with this concept in mind, I slowly began to realise that perhaps using a circle was not the most ideal for my project. Although I was able to create a visually obvious ‘gradient’ of fear, I felt as though using a circular shape was constricting the growth of what I was trying to represent. In my second draft of this map, I’ve opted to use a series of haphazard, jagged shapes which are a culmination of my fears and anxieties. The closer to the border, the more triangular the shapes become to represent agitation. Colour, too, plays an integral part in creating this feeling of agitation. A big inspiration came from Untitled (War Painting) by Kim Jones, which can be found on page 19 of The Map of Art by Katherine Harmon. For my surface, I plan to use old newspaper clippings to help give the map a more concrete time and location. UPDATE: The following images are of my final map, and include the newsprint.
This map aims to make visible countries which, for whatever reason, no longer exist. These countries might have been annexed, voluntarily become part of another country, or have been secessionist states that were quickly dissolved. Some, like Transylvania, still exist somewhere in popular conciousness. Some, like the Principality of Trinidad, were born of the eccentricity of an individual. Most began and ended as a result of the imperial game, something else this map visualises, the positioning of the countries and the shape of the map itself is based on a map from the early imperial period and the decoration is from another, suitably altered to distinguish the space these lost countries inhabit from the space created by early imperial mapping. The countries unfortunately came out too small to label them, but I do quite like the way they look like scraps of paper blowing across the barely-there earth. I do wish I had been able to put more personality into the countries, and put something of their story into the map, but I do like the implicit unity that the uniformity provides. Especially because there is in reality almost nothing similar about most of these countries. The ‘empty throne’/’empty globe’ line art was adapted from a map in which the globe was populated and the throne occupied. I like the idea of vestiges of imperial trappings rendered meaningless but still framing the content. Originally I planned to keep more of the border and merely warp it to suggest the change. I really liked the vibrant colours and wasted a lot of time trying to make this work: I learnt a great deal about my software from this project and my project changed a great deal due to my software and the limitations imposed by my knowledge of it. Not being able to translate an idea into pixels is still very frustrating, but I was determined not to just give up resort to a more comfortable medium again, The biggest complication in the execution of this project was therefore my uncertainly about exactly what I wanted/could do. I am worried that it came out rather like my self portrait aesthetically speaking; clearly I have a strong unconscious pull in the direction of clean lines and plain backgrounds. Visually I am happy with how this project looks, and I would like to think that the idea comes across, although I have a suspicion I may have made some choices for aesthetic rather than artistic reasons. I regret that I was not able to label the countries, because otherwise they remain somewhat lost, even when ‘mapped’, but there simply wasn’t space. No single concept from the class particularly influenced this project, rather the concept of the whole class did. Lost countries is perhaps the most literal route one could take in a class called ‘mapping the invisible’. Thankfully ‘literal’ does not in this case mean either simple or uninteresting. I acquired a mass of facts; some new skills; a boatload of geographical, political and artistic theory; and have thoroughly enjoyed myself in the process.
My planetary self portrait isn’t looking so barren anymore. It’s now more of a goofy collage than anything else, but progress is progress. One thing that could be tweaked, in addition to the rough edges on the photo clippings and the opacity of the background, is the link between signage and connector. As a whole. It’s got to be more cohesive. The tone of this little environment isn’t going to change much, and there are about a thousand more images that I’m figuring out how to incorporate. But regarding the analog clock system that birthed this whole project, that could be communicated much more effectively. The idea was that as you move clockwise from the orange line, the planet transitions from bright, warm childhood imagery (influenced by the secret Caribbean half of my genes and all my abuelita’s weird Santeria mysticism) to something much darker, colder (in every sense of the word) and more horror-influenced. I’m trying to communicate that I don’t feel any better off for having sat through sixteen years of school, and that my mind was a more pleasant place to reside in back when it wasn’t so restless and cluttered. Really, this is my rendition of the ‘never grow up’ song from Peter Pan; adulthood is looming, and that’s a scary thing. My map should reflect this by illustrating a clearer and more dramatic progression from Tropics to Gothics. This is my goal for the remainder of the project. For now, though, I’ll give a little tour of the planet in its current form. The surface of the planet is just that, a surface. Starting from the orange line, or from the umbilical cord stretching across the Hudson River if you like, life is simple and pure. A bouncyhouse and a pedaled go-kart. By fifth grade, school was no longer inflatable or fun; it was a stone prison. But the warm vibes of childhood were still half-present, at least. Along the yellow path to that stone prison are the man and the goat that I photographed back in high school, on the side of a road somewhere in Cuba. Other notable residents of the yellow region include Oshun (who’s basically the Afro-Caribbean Virgin Mary variant), and some nude ladies being baptized in the water (to signify first contact with the metaphysical, as well as the bodily revelations of the middle-schooler). The region between the yellow and green lines is home to the lonesome little boy staring into space, and another Santeria deity named Eleggua, god of crossroads and something to do with divine contact through drumming, if I recall correctly. All quite appropriate for my early days of drumming and terrifying uncertainty. By the time high school rolls around (green line), it’s clear that the stone prison and all its stipulations are totally illusory. But you’re still bound to them, sort of by law, and you’re constantly being monitored. I chose to express this by attaching two guard towers to a guard tower, despite there being no actual prison. This is all happening on the colder side of the planet now, and it’s all watched over by Danu, Celtic Mother Goddess, to offset Oshun’s presence on the opposite side, The purple line to college runs across the Hudson River, past the black-cloaked Washington Heights Gatekeepers, past mom’s old apartment, past dad’s old apartment and the big evil mountain which I suppose is the Bronx. It ends at the north pole. Sarah Lawrence is in many ways less structured than the endpoints of the other three lines, so there is no structure. There is only a moping gargoyle with a bird growing out of his back, and some cigarette butts and a sad lady from an old painting. I do intend to build more on the north pole, as well as on the rest of the planet, and then maybe something on the water. I appreciated everyone’s input today.