Terra Nova – 2010
You know those early European maps of the world – the ones where the continents are misshapen yet vaguely familiar, populated by strange beasts, comely maidens and headless men whose faces reside inexplicably in their chests. Worlds constructed from charts and stories brought back by seafarers, pieced together by mapmakers who hadn’t seen these new places for themselves.
I decided to replicate the process somehow – not by gathering information from professional explorers, but by tapping into the awesome power of Facebook and Twitter. By harvesting knowledge from fellow social media addicts, I could make an Atlas of the World based entirely on hearsay.
I put out a call to friends, family and random strangers on the Internet. I asked them to suggest places and historical contexts that should be included in the Atlas. As payment for their contribution, I sent each participant a lovingly handmade postcard from their selected location.
Terra Nova is not the final result of this project. It’s more of a progress report. The downstairs gallery contains collages that, like postcards, try to distil the essence of a place into a small piece of paper. These are expanded on in the upstairs gallery, where paintings of landscapes are fragmented into shapes that mimic the contours of maps and riff on old travel posters.