The cathedral is pretty spectacular and a huge draw for tourists visiting St Davids and Pembrokeshire in general. Throughout my MA so far I have been interested in exploring place, space and belonging.
It’s a strange way to photograph a map but I couldn’t think of a better way to show the map in full without it blowing away…
It also gave me some weird ideas that maybe I could produce a tea towel or towel or another touristy type thing but with my route that diverts people off the path most trodden…
What you can’t see in this map is the route that I had planned out.
I tried to make a route that was as close too as possible a circular radius around St Davids Cathedral.
Perhaps living in such a starkly transient place has stoked that curiosity as well as my own personal insecurities and interest in where I am from and from what community do I feel I belong too.
The handmade films Bait and Bronco’s house from Mark Jenkins beautifully narrate and mirror modern day tensions in rural communities, Jenkins is specifically depicting Cornwall.
He manages to really accurately capture the anger, stubborness and real conflict in these short films. Throughout everything I’m making at the moment I have narratives similar to these in my mind that I would like to explore. I am however also English, having lived in Wales since I was 4 years old I know that my position on the topic is a little contrevercial, but that also makes it interesting because how do I define belonging?
When I head back to West Yorkshire to visit family it is also very evident that Yorkshire to me is not home, yet on paper I have a long line of family who have lived in the same village for hundreds of years… interesting.
Back to my not so circular, circular walk!
On Sunday morning I set off with a sketchbook, camera and feeling a bit worried that this may just seem a bit pointless and weird, although I remembered the question I had set myself
How to divert people off the path most trodden?
That’s what I was investigating, I had devised a plan (walking in a circular radius around St Davids Cathedral trying to avoid the coast path and any other tourist spots.)
The landscape and infrastructure of St Davids makes it impossible to create a circular route but this is as close as I could get.
Interestingly on the route I only passed one other couple and that was during the very brief period that I had to join onto the coastal path.
I took loads of photographs on the route, here are a few that stood out to me, I’m still not entirely sure why or how they will relate to my final outcome yet…
What I loved about this route is that it really wasn’t pristene and set up for thousands of people to discover. Actually all of the little waymarkers that I spotted along the route were pretty weather beaten and not entirely clear what direction they were pointing at.
The whole walk was kind of encouraging me to ‘get lost’. When I spoke with Frauke in my tutorial last week she encouraged me to think of the whole project as layers and there not being a limit to what I can produce / include. When I think back to where and why I started this project some of the insporation was Psychogeography.
Psychogeography describes the effect of a geographical location on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.
So how does the location or walk I’ve just embarked on effect my emotion or behavior?
If I’m not thinking to deeply about that question what comes to mind initially is curiosity.
Psychogeography, as the term suggests, is the intersection of psychology and geography. It focuses on our psychological experiences of the city, and reveals or illuminates forgotten, discarded, or marginalised aspects of the urban environment.
So where / what next?
In previous weeks I collected loads of maps available for people to buy / have which suggest day long walks and make sure to visit all of the most ‘beautiful’ areas.
This is what I want to challenge, I want to make something which shows another side of St Davids, and not just St Davids, I would like to apply this project to other cities / areas although for this four week brief it is a good starting point.
I really enjoyed the weird and handmade aesthetic of the graphic on the right hand side…
A map of sorts, showing place of worship in St Davids but not actually giving any context as to where they with added pressed flowers… Awesome!
While at my local library I found lots of interesting and historical guides to St Davids.
It is a significant pilgrim site which makes this project even more interesting to me. Pilgrimages are often associated with a very set route and often to show a sense of commitment to a god.
I really like the contradiction that physcogeography brings to the table here with the whole point being to walk without aim and to discover the undiscovered.
I really enjoyed looking at the aesthetic of these early guide books and I think I would like to take inspiration from them in whatever it is I produce.
Time to start making something…
So I’ve had a few ideas wizzing about in my head.
– A map that is actually a bit difficult to read, or unusual to open.
– the title ‘get lost’
– Screenprinting my route onto a map?
– Making my map into some sort of tourist item: towel / tea towel / t-shirt
I think I need to play around a little with the arrows and signs all at weird angles that I photographed along the route.
Another noticable thing is how weather beaten all of the things were…
Perhaps I could actually make something, like a plaque that is laser etched or similar into wood and then leave it in the elements for the duration of the 12 weeks?
It might almost be like a hidden treasure map that someone could find, I also like the idea of nature leaving its mark on the forgotten paths…
It’s sort of like the Richard Long idea of interacting with nature but instead nature would interact / reclaim my work.
Above are super simplistic representations of my walk.
I like the middle one the best I think and want to develop this further.
It wont be super accurate but that’s ok, I don’t think that is the point.
If I refer back to my question:
How do I divert people off the path most trodden?
This method of creating a curiosity map of sorts seems that it would answer my question.
I do like the idea of creating a physical, wooden, metal or fabric piece that can then interact with the place.
I also need to somehow communicate that this path was avoiding the coast path and the cathedral which attract thousands of visitors every year.
Map Of Days: Grayson Perry
He has described A Map of Days as a ‘self-portrait as a fortified town’. In this image he explores his own identity by mapping his interests, habits, psychological traits and even some of his medical history as well as important events in his life.
I love the work of Grayson Perry and this map really jumped out at me. It wasn’t until further inspection I realised this map was showing himself…
I like the idea that a map can show anything, in tutorials with Frauke we have spoken about mapping feelings, historical events and so many other things in order to paint a picture of a community. It also helps you identify the potential needs of a community.
This is an etched print, it gives the map an historical aesthetic even though it was only made in 2013.
The map on the right, again by Grayson Perry, depicts himself and was inspired by the Mappa Mundi.
Specifically a German mappa mundi called Ebstorf Map.
Interestingly this maps centre is Jerusalem and these maps have a very religious background…
Without knowing I have kind of started to create something similar with the centre of my route being St Davids Cathedral.
Perhaps what I create could be a modern Mappa Mundi.