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I have always had maps around. I grew up in a military family and my father, among other things, made maps. Even after I left home I traveled, and maps offer both plans and dreams. The concept of the map is one of humanity’s earliest and greatest inventions - and one of our densest ways of storing and managing information.

I began dissecting maps in 1998. Tracing routes with a knife is similar to driving down a highway - most of what you’re left with is the road itself and a narrow band of land on either side. By cutting away everything but the roads, a map ceases to be a 2-dimensional representation of reality and becomes an actual 3-dimensional thing.

Maps are generally cheap, and their value is predicated on their usefulness. When they become outdated we throw them away. By dissecting them, their use-value is destroyed by the loss of their function. But the use-value is replaced with aesthetic value, and with it a commensurate extension of the object’s lifespan.

Hung floating in front of a wall, wafting in the breeze, they’re reminiscent of clothes hung out to dry. Clothes that are too old and torn to be worn, but too cherished and full of memories to discard.
all work copyright jeff woodbury 2010    contact