Bonhoga opening – 26th April
6.00 – 8.00 p.m.
Returning on Monday felt exciting again, and I started by considering some of the ideas that Tom (my collaborative partner) has had. He began by looking at the social history of the Bartholomew’s workers, the printing process, Russian maps of Edinburgh and the archives in general and was interested in ‘off the map’ ideas. I looked again at some of my sources to see how they could possibly fit.
With one or two conceptual ideas being bounced around I wondered if small visual Haiku might be a way to unleash some creative results and I began reading about Baudrillard’s simulacrum again. In part, he references Plato who talks about two types of image making - the making of an exact copy of reality and one that – distorts reality in order to make it real to the viewer. Baudrillard expands this comparison further by adding a ‘pretence of reality’ and one in which there is no reference to reality what so ever.
It can of course be argued that this maps allow us to visualise what Baudrillard meant . The interpretation of reality is often distorted by the intent, and intentional deception takes this one step nearer to having only a ‘pretence of reality’. You just need to look at mapping during any political tension to see that what is left out can be as critical as what is added. Even the cultural, political, scientific demands on the map maker is layered and imbued with a plethora of subjective viewpoints that can change reality quite rapidly. He will already be creating a map for a reason, and his own cultural and personal subjectivity will already be influencing the outcome.
I have started with one of my ideas which allows me to engage with maps in a totally different way. It involves my personal journeys while I am in Edinburgh and features my red lines – although these have been altered to accomodate the bus colours – bus routes are now red, and I have used green for the more eco-friendly walks. More about this when I get the first stage completed!
At least I have started sewing. I am still working through the small range of fabrics I have with me. Today (Tuesday), I received my Whaley’s samples, another pricey outlay but at least I now have a comprehensive sample book. I have tried sewing some nice sheer fabrics with some variable effects, and sourced a heavier linen/cotton mix fabric which I quite like the weight of.
Had another look at the Bartholomew’s colour work from around the 1930′s and on. This consists of everything from paint samples to Pantone samples. I was really looking for some of John Bartholomew Junior’s (25 December 1831 – 29 March 1893) colour work as his contour colours were not only revolutionary in terms of cartographic development but also beautifully balanced. Their subtlety allows the other details of the map to stand out and are still immediately understandable. Interestingly, the colours never became standardized and later work sometimes presents a quite ‘bold’ palettes. John George was quite obsessive with the aesthetics of his colours and the colour contouring in his early maps is well worth a look at.
Thursday was a day to Glasgow for a funeral, and I have to admit to having felt quite drained on my return. Especially as I missed a meeting that I would liked to have attended. However on Friday, after a quite intense day, a meeting with my Farlin ‘partner’ Maureen Sangster was very uplifting, and I felt much better after a nice coffee at the Elephant House. She has been a real treat to work with and I look forward to Stanza when we get together again.
The weekend was a little better in terms of space and thinking. After a very long walk on Saturday, which was a beautiful day, I felt a lot better. On Sunday I took a trip to Dundee to meet Jordan Smith to chat about visual impairment. This was very helpful to me, as I have had very little experience with anyone who has had to deal with visual imnpairment. I am still very interested in incorporating some sort of sensory element to my work, and I feel it has to have a meaningful artistic element for people with little or no sight.
From Dundee I drove to St.Andrews with my Farlin ‘Hands’ and had a pleasant afternoon exploring the Botanic Gardens and spending a lovely time chatting to the gallery assistent in the Fraser Gallery. I always like the work that is presented here, I am never disappointed! The drive home was wonderful with some beautiful skys to enjoy.
More sewn walks – a little further North