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You Are Here: Personal Geographies

February 26, 2010

I’ve discovered an absolutely excellent book entirely by accident: You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination. (It just happened to be at library return book when I was taking out a book.) Should I be describing it? I feel like the title sort of it sums it up.

At the time, I was deep within the Zirma book and Invisible Cities–and what is that if not a personal geography, or psychogeography as Jon introduced it?

But it so happens that I’ve been fairly interested in personal geographies for a while, in a way that’s the best way possible: a way you don’t really realize until afterwards, when you see how things you have done have fit into one cohesive story. Of course, as with everything, I use language loosely: personal geography = interest in grappling with one’s space. The first real creative act I undertook as an adult was in Berlin, when I started obsessively photographing Bauhaus buildings and Jewish memorials. My parents had just given me a camera and I burst out, all my pent up creatiity so so eager for an outlet. At the time it was just something to keep me busy and sane and discover the city (and learn more about Bauhaus); now, though I’m happy about how organic it was, I wish it had been slightly more systematic, so that this GIGANTIC collection of photos could add up to something more.

The other big personal geography project I undertook was Beltline Lingering, the artist book I did as part of the Atlanta Printmakers Emerging Artist Residency. This was a serious grappling with the space of Atlanta (not serious as in important, but serious as in “I seriously grappled with it”!) and this proposed Beltline, a converted railroad path that would go through the middle of the city.

That’s only two, but they were big, self-motivated, and there has been a smattering of far less impressive baby projects along the way.

Oh wait! I forgot one! This is My Atlanta! My first serious artists book I did absolutely randomly while at the failed experiment of the Creative Circus. That was actually a huge landmark experience where a bunch of photos on Atlanta’s type I did as part of an exercise were compiled into a book on Atlanta. Still very weird that I did that, but still very cool. In retrospect (and maybe at the time?), quite telling–as a copywriting student I was making crazy books in my spare time? What?

Anyways, I hate to think too much like a grant/proposal writer (which, for the record, I think is sort of an unhealthy activity, though I think I’m instictively good at it), but I think one could say my “body of work” focuses around this issue, which ties in nicely to my personal life–i.e. have lived in a far number of places.

The real question is how my thesis will fit into this, or if this is a body of work constrained to my personal/art stuff.

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