Fran Álvarez, embroidered fabric, 2020
Title: Map to nowhere / Mapa de ningún lugar
Landscape is never accurate or precise; it is never-static, it is ever-changing. Often represented as a fixed picture, by the time it has been mapped, it has already transformed. Rapid climate change leads to rapid plant migration, where tree species have been found to move 10 miles per decade. Creeks and rivers dry or change course, glaciers retreat, sand dunes crawl along the desert through months, years, decades of wind.
It is counter-intuitive to claim a constantly shifting environment within a precise coordinate system. This work aims to find another medium to translate the act of mapping landscape: registering and remembering the tensions between a dynamic culture and nature.
Landscape generates in a slow, visual and tactile way. When experienced, the body remembers and registers. There is no precision. The act of stitching is slow, visual and tactile. When used as a tool to register, information is lost and inaccuracies arise. It relies on my memory, and it relies on my hand to deliver a precise gesture.
Each stitch adds a layer of information, however trustworthy it might be. These maps will take you no where. They were true for a split second, as my memory walked the path I once walked. They are made up of layers of actual data, as well as actual memories. They are as much a reinterpretation of data extracted from GIS, as a narration of my own experience and recollection.
What makes them flawed and broken is what makes them real, maps of a landscape that once was. I do not need a legend to read them but anyone else will.
They are imprecise and inaccurate because landscape is imprecise. They are slow, visual and tactile because landscape is (was) too.