Cartographies of Time and Movement
“Some say that we have reached a dead end of imaginative invention, that no poetic image, no brushstroke is possible that isn’t derivative of something already done. Certainly one effect of the enclosure is a sense of limitations: there is only so much in the garden. But I interpret insistence on this as a sophisticated form of deflection. We may have enclosed ourselves, but this puts us on an interior threshold about which little is stale or familiar. Whether it’s the paradox of being responsible for our own footing, the challenge of imaginatively graping the effects of enclosure, or the disappearance of landscape itself as we have known it, this is not a dead end. Rather it is a beginning, in which the human imagination is in its early days of finding itself, in which we know little, in which all is to be discovered.”
Suzannah Lessard, The Absent Hand
Representing landscapes is a process of drawing ambiguities. Landscapes are infinitely old and constantly emerging, but a map represents only a moment in time. They are continuous yet fragmented by the artificial boundaries we project upon them. They are bound to the reality of their bedrock, yet our perceiving minds interpret them through a cloud of emotional and visual references. While scientific cartography can exquisitely define immediate realities, the emerging, temporal, and experiential qualities of a landscape are often best explored through the arts. This atlas exists at the confluence of these two fields, between science and the arts, between the abstract and physical landscape. Within these pages are a collection of cartographies inspired by Isle Royale National Park, a remote archipelago in Lake Superior. These maps will not help you navigate, nor will they serve as a comprehensive guide to Isle Royale, rather they are intended to help visualize a place from perspectives often not considered in traditional cartography.