Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Instant map art

A little while ago, when I was sorting through all my things before moving out of my university house, I came across an Ordnance Survey map of Truro and the surrounding area (I went to uni in Falmouth, about 20 minutes from Truro). I seem to remember my Dad bought it hoping to come and visit me and do a lot of long coastal walks. We never got around to that, but I didn't want to throw the map away, so I kept it. I love maps (although I cannot for the life of me actually use one - it is a big failing of mine, this inability to navigate), and on my degree course we talked a lot about mapping, and how writers attempt to map places with words. Jorge Luis Borges wrote a very short story about a place where the people's desire for exactitude in mapping meant that only a map with the scale 1 mile : 1 mile would suffice. It's kind of a joke (and also, having just Googled it, has some deeper Postmodernist meaning that obviously passed me by) but it does raise questions about what cartographers emphasise and leave out. Old mapmakers used to literally make more important places bigger, and little-explored places became just vague outlines. Plus, I love that another name for the Key of a map is a Legend. I think it's a nice link back to human history and the oral tradition of storytelling.

Anyway, I decided to cut my map up and frame the area of Falmouth, including the road where I lived for three years, and put it up in my new house as a little reminder of my time there. I had an old frame, so I just cut the map down, positioned it how I wanted it and folded the edges so it fitted snugly in the frame. Then I strengthened it with a piece of cardboard at the back and attached a piece of wire so that it could be hung up.

And voilĂ ! An easy way of turning a map into a piece of artwork, and making use of it at the same time. I don't like pictures behind glass because the reflections get in the way for me, so I just left this open. I also like the textures from where the map is supposed to be folded.

Song of the day: 'Suddenly I See' - KT Tunstall

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