Maps are diagrammatic representations and symbolic depictions of the relationships between the aspects in space – residential areas, roads, regions, lakes, oceans, specific places etc. the list continues. Maps can portray any space the designer wishes; real, planned or imagined.
For the mapping aspect of my ‘space project’ I wanted design something that was purely subjective and highly emotive in that respect. Furthermore, I wanted to extend upon the concept of Analogue Art Maps. Analogue Art Maps, “through architectural interaction, mapping social networks and psycho cartography”, “…record and generate connections… between individuals and the space in which they live.” Artist Hugh Davies intriguing examples of the dérive mapping technique include the placing of a 1971 map of Darwin in the city’s 24HR Art centre in 2008. Audience participation was invited to allow individuals to connect their favourite places to the space depicted on the map. The map, however, was an official road map from 1971, pre-cyclone Tracey; the town was re-mapped entirely after the natural disaster in 1974. The audience realised the differences in the map and were shown that an objective map can be wrong – we cannot always rely upon maps in this way. Hugh highlighted the differences between our experiences of a space and how an objective map will depict that same space. This notion that objective maps are different to our subjective opinions and experiences influenced me to create a map of the places I had travelled to in the past five years and depict what resonated with me when I thought back to my time spent in those places.
The Mockingbird wireframe (pictured directly above) illustrates the directions and places I wanted my map to show at its completion (pictured above). I wanted to establish Australia as my base (as it is where I depart for my journeys from), so I could then situate the remaining countries I had been too in their appropriate locations (not to scale, however). As pictured below, I had taped colour print outs of Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Hawaii on to my bedroom wall.
Using poly string, I cut lengths to join my departure place with my arrival destination, wanting to depict the directions the map was highlighting.
From Darwin I had travelled to: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Denpasar (Bali), Singapore and Vietnam.
From Sydney I had travelled to Hawaii (specifically Honolulu).
From Singapore I had flown to: Thailand and Hong Kong.
Once I had constructed the base of my map (as pictured above), with the directions planned, I wanted to explore each city I had travelled to individually to instill my experience and emotions onto it.
Beginning with Australia, I printed out in colour the images that resonate with each space on my map that I had been to in the last five years and joined it to the area with the poly string.
Darwin. I had called the Top End of the Northern Territory my home for the last ten years, yet the first thing that came to mind when I envisioned the town was crocodiles. Maybe it is a stereotype, but in my time living in the tropical gateway to Asia, I had ready many a story on the front page of our newspaper about crocodiles. Whether it be about pets, attacks, those that became lost in a suburban pool or those that were of extraordinary size, every self-confessed Territorian will have a story to share with you about the dangerous reptile.
Brisbane. I lived in Brisbane for a good portion of my childhood. It was my first home town; where I was born. I have flown back to the city at least once or twice a year in the last five years to see my family who still reside there. On my map, however, I have associated Brisbane with the archways that hang over the footpath into the city’s Southbank. The pink flowers that cover the arches were always beautiful in my eyes as a child, and remain so today. I have included the archways on my map, however, for the story that resonates most with me at Southbank: I was only about four at the time and I had left my sausage roll on a table looking towards the archways while I went to ask my Mum for a drink. When I got back to my Grandparents at the table, I was shocked to see that my food had disappeared. An ibis had stolen it. It was a horrid afternoon once that happened, I remember being in tears at the time.
Melbourne. The city I now call home. For me Melbourne is encaptured perfectly in the image I joined it with on my map – Flinders Street Railway Station, the Eureka Tower and a Tram. Melbourne is a city embracing the old with the new. Historical buildings, buildings with character and outstanding architecture. There is a large amount of beauty in the old style buildings and the buildings with character like Flinders Street Station. Moreover, the Eureka Tower in the image showcases the new buildings towering through the city. It is a magnificent sight to see the height from the Eureka Tower and the view it holds from the eighty-eighth floor. The tram, however, truly captures a significant characteristic of Melbourne for me – transport. Since moving to Melbourne, I have caught more trams than I care to note. Each is slightly different, however. The fabric of the seating, the graffiti, the path it takes and in general whether it is a new tram or an older style tram. It is a convenient method of transport to travel around the city. It is my prefered method of transport.
Adelaide. I only ever visit South Australia to see my Nanna, who lives two hours out of the city at Port Victoria. What resonates with me about the small town, however, is the Jetty. Located a street away from my Nanna’s home is the Jetty which my Dad, his brother’s and sister used to jump from as kids (before they thought they saw a shark that is). The last time I visited Port Victoria in 2009, the entire side of my Dad’s family was present for my Great Grandfather’s 100th birthday. We ended up catching squid at the Jetty to make calamari with later in the day. It was a time of healing and celebration for the whole family which is why the Jetty is so easily associated with Adelaide for me.
As for Perth and Sydney, I have not associated any images with the two cities. Whilst I have visited both, I was only in each for a brief stop over. In 2009 when I was headed to Port Victoria, to get to Adelaide we had to fly via Perth because we had booked our tickets two nights before we needed to leave. It was a spur of the moment decision to go for the family reunion, but it was the best decision at the time. We ended up waiting in the Perth Airport for three hours for our connecting flight. Similarly, I was stopped over in Sydney for the night in 2012 when my family was headed to Hawaii. I did not venture around the city for long enough to have much of an association with the place.
When I travelled to Hawaii in the December of 2012 and the January of 2013, I stayed in Honolulu and visited the ‘Main Island’ (as is depicted above). The image that resonated with me to attach to my map was a stereotypical postcard picture of what Hawaii is expected to be like. It wasn’t. Whilst I did enjoy the consumerism that was blatantly obvious in the Alamona Shopping Centre I stayed beside and the restaurants I ate at (all selling Kahuna Burgers, see Pulp Fiction (1994)), Honolulu in particular was not at all what I had expected it to be. It was not until I went to a Luau (that took place behind the grounds of a Disney Hotel might I add), that I truly appreciated the beauty in the traditional and stereotypical Hawaiian culture. We were given a shell or orchid lei upon arrival and were invited to watch a showcase of Hawaiian dancing throughout the last century whilst we feasted on the traditional food and experienced true Hawaiian culture. The Luau was a wonderful experience, more so than any of the consumerist activities I had participated in beforehand.
Over the last five years I have jetsetted from Darwin to Denpasar in Indonesia at least four times each year. When I was thinking about Bali, I could not think of one specific thing that resonated with me to perfectly depict the experience I have had there. The Bintang singlet seemed the most appropriate. It symbolises a trip taken. It symbolises the friendships my family and I have made with the locals (helping store owners, providing Balinese schools with supplies and even being invited to attend a wedding). The singlet symbolises Bali in one element.
I have been to Singapore twice, firstly in 2010 and then again in 2012. It was easily decided, however, that the Marina Bay Sands was what I associated the country with. Prior to visiting Singapore, my family and I had watched the documentary discussing the constructing of the grand hotel and we knew we had to see it for ourselves. It is a magnificent sight, I highly recommend viewing it just for the impeccable architectural work it showcases. It encases a world within it as well, housing guests, a casino, a shopping centre and the ArtScience Museum.
I stayed in Hong Kong for a total of two days in 2010 after visiting Singapore. We were there to go to Disneyland. Once we got over the initial shock of our terrible motel room and the toxicity of the pollution that clung to the air around us, we spent one of our two days at the themepark. It was an amazing experience. We did not know what to expect, but the themed rides and shows were utterly enjoyable.
Within Thailand I have been to Krabi, Phuket and Bangkok. I first visited Krabi and Phuket in 2010. In 2012, I visited Phuket and Bangkok. For me Krabi and Phuket resonate with the beautiful beaches they have to offer. The image above shows my family and I walking along a beach (of which to this day I still do not know the name of) we visited after driving back to Krabi from Phuket. We had ended up in Krabi after a mix up with our visas and our flights – Dad called it an adventure, I thought it was a learning experience – and soon realised that there was more for us to do as tourists in Phuket. We drove the three hours between the two places for the weekend. Bangkok, on the other hand, for me was associated with the floating markets. Vendors have marquees perched above a river wherein they hold out items they want to buy as you are raced down the river on a tiny canoe with a petrol motor. I didn’t buy anything when I visited, it was more so an experience of what the culture was like in this part of Thailand. It was exciting and everything was happening at once. There were even restaurants perched above the river you could visit. It was a beautiful environment.
I visited Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang in Vietnam in 2011. Both places offered a wonderful experience; I would love to go back to discover more of the culture and experience the country. What resonated with me about Vietnam, however, was the image above of a man riding his bicycle – a common sight. I loved watching the chaotically organised traffic in Ho Chi Minh outside of the Ben Thanh Market – it was so different to home. The image above, however, resonates with me when I think about Vietnam because the entire time we were there, my family and I really only ate the local dish – Pho`. It was a delicious soup which the Vietnamese tended to eat for breakfast. We ate it for lunch and dinner. I had even brought a phrase book along with me to learn the language and communicate with the locals in an attempt to learn more about the Vietnamese culture.
The map I have created is a symbolic depiction of the relationship between space and my emotions. I have designed an entirely subjective map that is correct by my own experiences. Each of the countries is linked in the travel direction I took to get there by the white poly string. Each place within the country I have visited is linked to an image that resonates with me as depicting my time spent abroad accurately. My interpretation of an Analogue Art Map reflects my subjective and emotive points of view.