Maps are diagrams representing human conceptual understanding of the world. Cartographics have a fundamental function; this is to provide information and guidance. Maps can be of physical realities and abstract constructs, or a blending of the two.
There is a wide variety of maps, each with a unique purpose. Simryn Gill’s ‘Road kill’ (2000, found objects, dimensions variable, held at AGNSW) looks at migration and demographic maps as art. Showing how rubbish and animals migrate despite political borders. Because maps represent concepts, as well as physical structures, they are often tied to human ideas, such as religion and politics. Banksy’s “unwelcome intervention” (2011, stencil on concrete, location specific to West Bank, Palestine) was stencilled on a politically tense physical structure (the West Bank) this shows how religious conflict influences the depiction of boundaries. People that populate physical spaces are maps within themselves, showing ethnicity, socio-political standing, and cultural values. The ‘Face Research Lab’ (Ben Jones and Lisa DeBruine, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow. is a scientific and artistic process of ethnographic maps. Showing how the blended faces of a populace, within defined geo-political boundaries would be represented. Thus it can be seen that maps are an art form open to the interpretation of the concepts that drive their creation.
When mapping my own conceptual process, the ideas of metaphorical and conceptual maps became a prominent idea. The aforementioned artists take the concept of maps displaying facts and subvert this idea. Each artist demonstrates that maps display a subjective idea as fact. Drawing on Gill’s use of space and undefined lines influenced the placement of my boats. The seemingly random location of the boats, without guides or paths, makes sense only to the cartographer (me). The concept of fiction masquerading as facts can be seen in Banksy’s work. “Here be monsters displays how both artist and a cartographer can see the unexplored or the unknown as a challenge and inspiration. Both Banksy’s work and my own show how maps are a representation of perspective rather than fact.
“Here be Monsters” represents my journey through the creative process. Each boat, or “Port of creation”, is a representative stop along my creative path, from Inspiration to Completion. The seemingly random placement of the boats is demonstrating the unique artistic process that not only I, but each artist follows. This map is only legible is you have the key. Old maps used to be marked with the phrase ‘here be monsters’ if the cartographers didn’t know what occupied the space. This lack of knowledge culminating in fictional representation is inclusive of my artist process. I don’t know, therefore, I create. My creative process is also symbolic of maps due to the idea that having somewhere to start (a place, an idea or instruction) is essential to the completion of the process. “Here be monsters” and maps both follow the concept, that the point of departure, is as influential on the product as the process.