Seeing through words

Artists and Inspiration, CCS

Can a map be something other than an image and what qualities does it need to have? When I think of maps I vision the old roll down world map we had in our classroom in secondary school but really, a map could probably be just about anything if you think about it as long as it does what a map is supposed to do. Maybe there are different opinions on this but for me, what makes a map is the fact that it is some kind of overview. Artist Richard Long has made some really interesting typographic stuff on this topic with his project “Sixteen Works” from 1984 where he paints a landscape using only text. Not text as images, but text as a description of a landscape- aligned as a clock and what he saw each minute going on an hour walk or text displayed vertically to represent his plane of vision.

Placing the text like this makes you read it at a certain pace, imagining the scene before you and the route he might have been on. Because the design of it is so stark and empty, the interpretation of the text is really up to the viewer- we are not given any help or hints as to what it looks like, the words are all we got. I think this is really cleverly done and quite poetic.


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