Childhood Calliopy: An Atlas Of My Younger Years

What if mapping were an expressive art, a way of coming to terms with a place, with the experience of place, with the love of place?

Dennis Wood

For my Visual Rhetoric Narrative Mapping project, I wanted to create a collection of maps that embodied a vivid sense of childhood. My objective in this series of maps was not to attempt to render a cartographic representation of what the geography and architecture looked like around my home and neighborhood, but rather my intent was to capture the essence of what my younger years were all about—adventure, wonder, and simplicity.  Therefore, what my maps portray is the sense of place that was felt by me, at that time.

Wood further posits, “As with atlases, every sequence insists on some kind of meaning, imposes some kind of signifying experience” (10).  As I reflected on my childhood, there were many favorite pastimes that came to mind, but I decided to explore two that took place in the summertime, very close to my home. As a child, I took great pleasure in going across the street into the lima bean field where I would spend entire afternoons on an archaeological quest, unearthing buried fragments of 18th century pottery. The ceramic gems came in all shapes, colors, sizes, and textures and the idea of discovering artifacts from an “ancient” time and place was fascinating to me. Another adventure which took place almost daily was packing a lunch to take down to the canal where I, my brothers and the neighborhood kids would watch catamarans, sailboats and ferries go by. Images of sparkling sunshine, soft grasses under my feet, and the protective, overhanging oak we would camp out under came flooding to mind, along with the familiar, constant hum of boats on the water, which was both comforting and relaxing.

As Wood asserts, “Every map has its own tale to tell…Admitting that atlases were narrative—that they were texts—would force the admission that the individual maps were texts too, that maps constituted a semiological system indistinguishable from other semiological systems, like those of paintings or novels or poems” (9).

You can find my new media presentation on Issuu, here





This entry was written by CHRISTEN JANINE OTTER and published on February 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm. It’s filed under Christen Otter's Posts, Mapping, Semiotics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Childhood Calliopy: An Atlas Of My Younger Years

  1. i really love this, christen.

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