Monday, April 2, 2007

Mapmania

I have a long standing love (obsession?) of maps, whether they are street directories or old geographical maps, mud maps or hastily scribbled directions on how to get somewhere. Maps can tell us so much more than simply where something is or how to get there. I first started using them in my work as part of the narrative, a way of placing the work or setting the scene. Over time I started to become really fascinated by the many other subtle associations and insights maps hold within their squiggly lines.

Maps can speak of the passing of time. Obviously, looking at maps of the same area over a long period of time will show you the physical development of an area. But the style and look of the map, the graphic qualities, the way it has been drawn and designed, the text used, the paper it is printed on, also gives you a sense of time passing. In subtle ways they can speak of technological developments, design and fashion, growth and destruction, and identity.

At exhibitions I’ve often seen people craning their necks and contorting themselves into strange positions to find their street on one of my map pieces. They get so excited when they find it, or when they recognise the area. It instantly gives them a different connection to the piece. Most of us identify with a place somewhere, sometime. They are deeply embedded in our sense of who we are, our individual and collective identities and stories.

Viva la map I say.

(6 maps of inner city Brisbane from 1863 until present)

10 comments:

Uschi said...

Maps!!
I love to travel around the world with my finger on a map.....
I have two stories to share:
In a bavarian museum, some weeks ago, I found a book with maps showing all parts of Bavaria. Each page showed a piece of road with the information when and in which inn you could meet the mail-rider and on which day the weekly-market took place. Great!!

During the second world war my grandfather has been in Norway as a soldier. They were supported by the Norwegian people with maps which were all faked :))))

Maps are wonderful!!
So are your work and words!

jessica said...

I too am a huge map fan and have always thought of incorporating it in my work. I must say I love the way you have managed to do just that. It is beautiful.

Mel Robson said...

map lovers of the world unite! that bavarian map sounds great Uschi! How old was it???

Uschi said...

it's from 1796!!
Here's a link to one of the cards (the upper one). If I can get this book anywhere......

Uschi said...

hmm, shit, I'm such a fool...
Here is the link:

http://www.deutsches-museum.de/archiv/bestaende/kartensammlung/

mark said...

i'll have to find you a map of logan....

Mel Robson said...

Thanks Uschi. Nice maps! And Mark....pleeeeeeeease do!!!

shula said...

I am a big Map Girl.

I have been seriously considering a map for my next project.

I find enormous comfort in a map.

Sent here by Anna (The Davernator)

Donald Burroughs said...

Mel I am really fascinated by your use of maps and decals. I would like to know about your processes if that is possible. The taken out of context imagery (maps) and giving it to a 3-dimensional form invites the curiosity of the viewer and user of the vessel.

Donald Burroughs
On the web @ http://members.shaw.ca/clayartz

Kirsten said...

love, love, love your vessel with the map! stunning and elegant.