Mapping – Gail Baxter

Mapping is a central theme within this project. Maps can be used to mark out territories, establish boundaries and highlight areas of danger or to aid safe navigation in unfamiliar areas. Mapping is a very old art with the ancient Egyptians drawing up land-use maps and the early Greek civilisations producing some of the first ‘scientific’ maps. Today professional map making can be ultra-high-tech; 3D laser scanning, satellite cross-triangulation and even interplanetary mapping are possible.

For me however, there is nothing quite like a hand-drawn map; often quirky, rarely to scale but always an indication of the points that the map-maker considers to be of relevance to what they are trying to portray.

Maps can be a personal aide-memoire or a legal statement of title – they can even be a means of subterfuge. They help us to make sense of our place in the world whether we are tracing the past, mapping the present or visualising possibilities for the future.

For this project we will be tracing where group members have lived in the past, mapping where they are travelling in the present and making visible some of the unseen connections where their lives and travels have intersected. These mappings will be complimented by consideration of their ‘Lines of Desire’ – where they would like to go if health, wealth and politics were no obstacle. With the abundance of information available on the television and internet my list has grown lengthy, for others it will be short but of immense vitality and intensity. It will be interesting to see which places prove to be most popular within our group.