Beneath the surface (of language), Silver Island Mountain Byway, Wendover, Utah, USA, 2009, illustrated folded sheet map, four-color offset print, 32″w x 24″h (unfolded), 3″w x 8″h (folded)
This map explores a backcountry byway that lies just northeast of the Utah/Nevada border along Interstate 80. As a site-specific intervention an essay about the area, written during an extended stay in Wendover, was divided into sections and buried along the route. The printed map documents the locations and also includes a reprint of the original essay, topographical illustrations, and photographs of the byway and local rock graffiti found along I-80.
Beneath the surface (of language), Silver Island Mountain Byway, Wendover, Utah, USA is the second map project produced during the past few years, the first being Searching for Ludwig Wittgenstein, Lake Eidsvatnet, Skjolden, Sogn, Norway (2007). Each map investigates a specific place and its found and fabricated histories, one exploring the Great Salt Lake Desert and various land uses, the other documenting the philosopher Wittgenstein’s Norwegian hut. The maps include topographical and photographic images, factual and historical information, as well as a long essay about their subjects. While distinct the publications share a few things: the idea of maps as a key to moving through physical and conceptual landscapes simultaneously; the interplay of text and image both in the printed form and in ordinary experience; the way language shapes perception; the blurring between factual didactics and more subjective language; the act of writing as a way to process one’s experience; and the suggestion that language is integral to the physical landscape we apprehend. In form and content the maps exemplify the way independent publishing allows an artist/thinker/writer to create a hybrid vehicle for his or her ideas.
Beneath the surface (of language), Silver Island Mountain Byway, Wendover, Utah, USA was researched during an artist residency at the Center for Land Use Interpretation’s (CLUI) Wendover facilities, and is available at CLUI’s Los Angeles and Wendover locations, and at Printed Matter in New York.
Installation view of map stacked as a free give-away in exhibition, “Claiming Space,” Quarter Gallery, University of Minnesota, January to February 2010