Published October 3, 2019
Tristan da Cunha, 1937 (Creative Commoms)

2019 Annual Member’s Project – Uncharted (Unfounded/Unmoored) (Specs Updated 10/03/2019)

Milestones w/approx. dates

  • June 20: Project Launch (Participants begin to plan their map)
  • July 1: Participants submit their rough designs
  • July: Demos for printing techniques
  • July-September: Artists printing their maps
  • September: Artists submit artist statements; case construction begins
  • October 20: Participants Maps to be Finished
  • October: Collation of maps in cases

Project Documents:
Project Pitch Guidelines.pdf
Pitch Meeting: Collaboration Concepts.pdf 
Annual Member’s Project Specifications.pdf (rev. 062419)
Uncharted – Slideshow Guidelines.pdf

A map that doesn’t exist – an imaginary map – it can be a geographic map, a map of an idea, map of feelings or a new way to represent visually information that guides or describes the world. The map should not be anything that already exists (i.e. a map of a fictional book or tv show world).  Your maps should *not* be data driven (i.e. a map reliant on hard data from the real world). We want to keep the original spirit of “imaginary” maps, and stretch our creativity. How can you creatively realize your intention?

“Although mapping is a method of gathering, ordering and recording knowledge, all maps are to some extent the products of imagination. No map is ever the truly objective description of a place that it purports to be. Every map is shaped – and coloured – by political, cultural and social conditions, and by the personal experience or imaginative projections of its maker. Maps can be enhanced by imaginative embellishments, they can show imaginary places, and artists can adapt map iconography to express their ideas and experiences of place.”

Conceptual Guidelines for the Project
A map is a prosthetic device to “help” us literally reconnect to reality, while simultaneously removing us from reality. Therefore there is a tension between reality and our representation of it. (See Baudrilliard section below)

Creating a map is a way to try and understand and index the world. In a way, creating a map can be seen as making space/land/geography “real”. However a map can never capture the real of an experience, of the environment, or space. So our map art should be our way of trying to “map” the unmappable. How do you really “map” a forest. What is the representation of a forest? Is it limited to the location of rocks and trees? What about the experiential nature of forest? How do you map that?

Thought experiment: If you had to create a map of a lemon, how would you do that? Would you focus on the texture? The experience of eating a lemon? How would you show that visually? Can you express tartness without showing a person’s mouth pursed? Would you include the history of the lemon’s life? What about its smell?

… how will your map convey a reality, what will that reality be, and yet, what happens when you try to pin something down? What do you lose? What is removed? What is a representation? What then, is your map? 

Project Specifications 

  • Edition size: 50 (= 20 copies plus # of participants)
  • You may work individually or in a self-organized group.
  • ALL text or images appearing on maps must be that of the artist or work that is in the public domain, copyright free, or used with permission (with documentation that permission has been obtained).

Design Elements and Specifications

    • Maps are broadsheets (one-sided).
    • The finished size (trimmed or folded) is 11 x 14.
      • This trim size allows for gripper space on either end of a standard 11 x 17 sheet.
      • For a full bleed, use paper that is wider in every dimension, then trim to 11 x 14.
  • You may create a significantly larger map, but it must fold down to 11 x 14.
    • Artists trim or fold their own sheets.
  • Artists may use any archival material (paper, fabric, synthetic, vellum, faux skin, tyvek, acetate, etc.). 
    • Ask Garrett about available paper stock at the Book Center. 
    • NOTE: If you use a non-absorbent material, you’ll need ink that dries on non-absorbent surfaces. Consult Garrett!
  • Sheets must be flat (some layering of materials OK for chine colle, collage, or pop-ups).
  • Some hand methods must be involved in production (e.g., printmaking, letterpress).
  • Map TITLE must appear on the map.
  • A LEGEND to your map must appear on the map.
    • Note that the TITLE & LEGEND may be partial, stylized, indicated or rendered in any way that indicates a “map-like” element.
  • Artists must submit a brief artist’s statement with the following information (to be incorporated in an intro and the colophon):
    • name(s) of cartographer(s)
    • map-making materials
    • printing technique(s)
    • inspiration or intention
  • The enclosure for the edition will be a folded map case (details to come).

Acceptable Printing Methods

  • Relief: linoleum, wood, foam, rubberLetterpress: lead or wood type, photopolymer plates (see Limitations* below)
  • Silk Screen: hand-cut stencil
  • Lithography: hand drawn stone, aluminum, or pronto plate
  • Intaglio 
  • Photogravure: (see Limitations* below)
  • Digital printing: Only as a layer. (see Limitations* below)

*Limitations on the use of photopolymer plates (and other processes involving digital preparation, such as pronto plates, photogravure, digital printing) :

  • Please contact Garrett about your plans for these techniques; they will be allowable on a case by case basis.
  • For digital printing: It is imperative that in your work, you can “see the hand of the artist.” Digital printing is allowed only as a sub-layer with other more significant hand-printed contributions overlaid. 
  • Artwork is preferably original line work hand-drawn by the participant (black ink on white paper).
  • Digitally obtained images must be in the public domain. Digital manipulation should be kept to absolute minimum.
  • Artists are responsible for the digital preparation of art and the cost of plate manufacture. Consult Garrett about digital prep and about placing orders with other artists to save on cost.
  • Request assistance and give yourself plenty of lead time if you are not familiar with the process!

Helpful links!

Mapping the Imagination

New Yorker: The Allure of the Map

Michelle Stuart  (map of location using the dirt)  (graphic rubbing of the ground at Kingston, NY 

Sharon Horvath

Dove Bradshaw
Example of mapping environment and time; the piece changes as those conditions change because of the ongoing chemical process.

Map of truth and deception:  

How to draw a map

AVOID Data Driven Map examples (NOT what the project is geared toward) samples below

The path of eye movements as a person takes in a Seurat painting

Map of watersheds

For a Deeper Dive:
“Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski remarked that “the map is not the territory” and that “the word is not the thing,” encapsulating his view that an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself.”

According to Baudrilliard, what has happened in postmodern culture is that our society has become so reliant on models and maps that we have lost all contact with the real world that preceded the map. Reality itself has begun merely to imitate the model, which now precedes and determines the real world: “The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory—precession of simulacra—that engenders the territory” (“The Precession of Simulacra” 1). According to Baudrillard, when it comes to postmodern simulation and simulacra, “It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real” (“The Precession of Simulacra” 2). Baudrillard is not merely suggesting that postmodern culture is artificial, because the concept of artificiality still requires some sense of reality against which to recognize the artifice. His point, rather, is that we have lost all ability to make sense of the distinction between nature and artifice.

Member Participation:

  • The project is open to all current members of the book arts program at the Virginia Center for the Book
  • In order to participate individuals and collaborators must register with Garrett <
    • We’ll begin to manage the project via a participant’s mailing list so as not to “spam” our general membership with operational missives
    • If you’re interested and not yet sure of contribution, you still should get on the list

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