Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mapping: Body and Place (Amy)

The assignment: on a piece of posterboard, draw on one side your personal map of the world. On the second side (in an exercise conducted a few weeks after side #1), draw a map of your own body.
World: I'm always amazed when traveling cross-country how much space I'm unaware of below me. Who are the people that occupy those lost hours that represent the transition from EST to Pacific Time? And back again?
I've only been out of the country once, on a music trip when I was 18. Otherwise, my exploration of the US has consisted of trips to visit family in the Midwest and East. Like a lot of other things in my life (insert psychological issues here), travel is something I wistfully wish for but don't act upon.
My world map consisted only of the United States, with a path from my apartment in Brooklyn to the subway station that takes me to JFK airport (with my apartment's floor plan meticulously laid out), to my parents' home in California (again, with floor plan, and absoultely out of scale - i.e. a size comparable to the entire state).
Body: I unwittingly employed a similar method when drawing my own body - I traced parts (a foot) and drew others (my hair, dimples), as well as wrote comments about my height and build... again, all pieces of my body, cerainly not a realistic attempt to depict my whole physical self. What I drew was more akin to trying to examine all of one's parts in a very small mirror while cramped in a very small space (look at one nook here, now shift, look at another part).
Like trying to know where I live, or know my country, or "see the world," these drawings were frustrating. Reminds me of the subway system in NYC - I should get a bike so that I can see more of the City above ground and know what I'm passing under when I take the train. It's so easy to simply exist between one's place of work and one's bed (regardless of where one lives, but especially in places that have mass underground transportation). Making these realizations actually puts some fear in me and gets me out of the house in a futile attempt to make up for what seems like lost time (what am I doing with my time, anyway? How do I choose to use it? What do I choose to learn?).
I can view the world through the lens of Google Earth, but I haven't tried all the restaurants on Washington Street around the corner.
-Amy

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