[This is a guest post by Casey Cripe*, about his project The Map Is The Territory ( 3/3 )]
At age 25, I dropped out of art school,
schemed a self-directed study curriculum,
and began in earnest a thesis project designed to unfold & evolve over a lifetime—
a one-and-forever Magnum Opus.
I’m currently four years into this project, 29 years into this lifetime.
I followed my dream and am living it,
and, like any dream, it’s a bit difficult to pack into language,
and even more difficult to hand off to others as interesting,
but, I’ve been asked nicely to try, so I’ll oblige:
I collect imagery—diagrams & illustrations, mostly.
I trawl municipal libraries, bookstores, second-hand shops, the world wide web,
culling from the Collective Consciousness component-element icons of Universe,
all-the-while caching, curating, & categorizing these samples/specimens
into my own personal Image Reference Library.
This is the primary aspect of my self-directed study—
an active, ever-ongoing exploration of our Visual Cultural Database,
a survey of the topologies of any & all Pictorial Knowledge Structures
so far built by Humanity.
From this analysis, then a synthesis :
I craft artworks—maps of my encyclopedic explorations,
emergent pattern narratives from the symbols & motifs I’ve collected along my way.
The artworks are to multiply & accumulate over my lifetime,
be & become my Magnum Opus,
an emergent pattern narrative of it’s own.
the artworks exist as physical artifacts
( hand-made from the material of wood, paper, glue, paint, & pencil ),
and are designed to be living documents,
growing & evolving through time
as new territories are explored,
as old areas are revisited with new eyes,
as skills & concepts mature with age.
the artworks are all-of-a-piece
(totaling to-date @ approximately 25 and counting),
and are designed to be connected-&-whole,
exhibited-entire and arranged in deliberate sequence.
Each individual artwork illustrates its theme(s),
but when all artworks are together and in order,
the whole body of work illustrates a cyclical meta-narrative,
providing the observer with an expansive & immersive Wide-view + Long-view,
a journey along the spatial-axis of Cosmos & the temporal-axis of Human Destiny,
all themes interconnected.
As with the individual works,
the collective work also changes & grows over time—
new pieces are always being added to the sequence,
old pieces are replaced when purchased or obsolete,
even the structure of the sequence itself is open & flexible to revision & mutation.
This creature that I’ve created (am creating, is creating me),
is a mimetic organism of nested & interlocking systems, processes, and pace-layers.
It is a reflection of my own human existence,
the history of our species,
the evolution of Life on Earth,
the living narrative of Universe.
It is also a knowledge & memory prosthetic to aid in thinking & understanding,
a platform from which to ask questions, engage in dialogue with yourself and others.
It is a window & mirror, a telescope & microscope.
It is a way of seeing, living, being.
It is a map of, and for, my path,
each our individual paths,
This is my scheme, this is the dream I’m dreaming.
(The sequence of works featured here, PLANET EARTH (v.1.3), SPACE EXPLORATION (v.1.2 ), SOLAR SYSTEM (v.1.2), ENERGY/MATTER (v.2.2), represent the final fraction (3/3) of the collective body as displayed in-sequence.
In the present expression of the cyclical meta-narrative, it is the tail of the Ouroboros. Displayed horizontally, it measures approximately 7 meters from end-to-end.)
*Casey Cripe is a designer & builder & collector & explorer & observer & human. He lives in San Francisco, California
and can be contacted at www.CaseyCripe.com.