Thursday, April 10, 2008

Where can I go? Where have I been?

Ever since I was a young boy I have always enjoyed cartography. There something interesting about seeing the layout of land masses without actually having to be there. I would stare at relief maps in class for hours.

As I got older I started drawing my own maps, creating my own chains of islands, mountain ranges, rivers, etc. I even peppered them with cities with complicated names, histories, rivalries, and even empires. The maps themselves became alive, drawing me into their stories so much that I felt I was channeling these landscapes more than I was drawing them myself. Now I can easily spend days drawing series of maps from continent down to the cities themselves.

In my digital manipulation class I will be creating maps as part of a project and that's going to be a very interesting and personal work of art. I think I'll take it on myself to begin drawing those maps now, just because I know I'll want to put a lot of detail into it.

I guess that also relates to the assignment that I have been tasked with for the next two weeks, which is to create a digital landscape. I might draw up the maps digitally and then place images from Google Earth to populate them...

Another thing that I have played with since a child has been words and language. One day I opened an old set of history books I had received from a school and found a section detailing the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. As a child this was absolutely fascinating, to see for the first time the unraveling of such a mysterious language. I became obsessed with memorizing the symbols and writing my own letters in hieroglyphics.

Years later I stumbled on an mathematician's exploration in simple evolution of symbols and shapes based on strict rules. The charts of their permutations called me back to that moment of awe with the Rosetta Stone, which further inspired me to start creating my own alphabets following very simple rules. I still enjoy doing that today in my sketchbooks.

Perhaps I will marry the two concepts together, creating a fictional landscape with borders and cities and even with its own street signs and language.


Rebecca said...

Have you read "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan? Best book of last year.

Progressive Mexican said...

I've never heard of it... what's it about?