Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What is a map? Where are the boundaries? (Alex)

A map communicates information to others. It describes some form of relations between parts. In my world map, I created relationships based on my own traveling: I described the plane journey or freeway route from one section to another. What struck me whilst trying to draw the world, was that each place I have traveled is a complete world, a complete set of rules, a whole, and as a traveler you move from one seemingly discreet locale to another. A map serves to make these discrete locales relate to one another and gives them meaning as a greater whole. A map is both built on travel, and makes travel possible by showing the places that exist outside of your own frame of reference.

A map is not territory –it is the idea of territory, the possibility of landscape, a collective belief in a permanent landscape.

A map collects knowledge about space and represents that space through a subjective lens.

The Body: I started trying to translate a three dimensional form onto a two dimensional plane, emphasizing skin and topography. Then I thought about internal topography and how skin connects to flesh, and veins and bones run through this flesh. I asked myself where the boundaries of my body are, (can you try to imagine yourself as an arbitrarily bounded object/country, that could be part of a community/continent? What are you bordering?) which lead to thinking about how these boundaries change and which parts of my body, if any, are permanent. The bone structure, the eyes, these are permanent.

[The head has always seemed separated from the naked body-that vulnerable, unpolished, non-human flesh we hide away. The head is immortal. Our social interfacing happens as a head and a set of clothing, the social image, the bone structure of our face and the ideas contained within being the permanent parts of our body that will remain even after our deaths. Nakedness as a social construct is sexy but nakedness as a corpulent reality remains uncomfortable and inconveniently mortal. ]

Where are the boundaries between our bodies? Between our identities? How could we map a community, making intelligent connections between discreet individuals and families? Economically? Through conversations, through physical distance, through chronological intersections?

Were there more similarities between our body maps or our world maps? We all relied to some extent on conventions –to tell us what the world looks like from space, or our bodies look like internally. The conventions fill in the gaps that we can’t actually SEE for ourselves. Should we try this again, avoiding these conventions? Our body maps were also similar in that they didn’t stray to the political, social or even navigational-they remained personal and grounded in the physical. This makes sense as we are incapable of experiencing the world outside of our bodies as a physical reality, but should we push ourselves to investigate them on both more personal and more abstract levels?

Lets do some research, getting a pool of people to try the same activities.

And did being tied to each other make any difference? It made me more aware of the drawing as a physical and spacial process but i don't think it changed what i did.


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