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Mapping Memory

Maps and clocks share a history. As maps plotted the physical landscape around us, clocks allowed travelers to situate themselves in the world by plotting time difference – and clocks still perform this function in satellite navigation.  Clocks and maps are systems of navigation which have allowed us to understand our lives from an increasingly global perspective. Yet despite this link, clocks have abstracted in our consciousness the ties between time and the physical world: the changing seasons, the rising sun; the opening of the flowers; even signals from our own bodies.


The long, established histories of maps and clocks allow them to appear as neutral, impartial, apolitical. But their histories are intertwined with the development of Western culture, both as product and producer of a specific world view.

Engramographs use the visual language of cartography and place to trigger memories for documentation. Building on ideas situated in critical cartography, Engramographs ask us how a landscape has shaped us as individuals; what places and times hold personal significance and whether the language of maps can communicate an alternative landscape that situate us both as inhabitants of place and of time. The results are maps which cover the same, repeated physical locations but which are layered with memories explored through text and image.

Translucent painted voiles suspended floor to ceiling in art installation

Engramography presents an ideal format through which communities can explore their relationships to time and place through participatory workshops. By exploring memories of place, we can identify how the locations and communities around us have shaped our identities, and how our perceptions of the past continue to shape our futures. In exploring both shared history and individual experience, we are able to understand encounters and events from a multiplicity of perspectives and develop a sense of our own significance on our physical and social landscape.

These community Engramographs can exist as historic documents, capturing a specific moment in time, or a live, evolving document able to incorporate new stories and insights. We can see the changing faces of our communities not just through a changing physical landscape, but in the stories we tell through it.

If you are interested in creating your own community Engramograph, please do get in touch.

A translucent voile is painted with image of girl walking and maps

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