Faux Bois, Fundação Serralves, Porto

A faux bois dovecote in the gardens of Fundação Serralves in Porto, Portugal.

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Elements of Melancholic Landscape

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Bounded by a Box

A cut edge or a bounding box around a relief map creates cross-sectional profiles through the topography. The edges give additional reference points in visualising the lie of the land and for comparing relative distance, elevation and gradient.

Border Square, 2007 - Laurent Liefooghe, Netwerk, Aalst

3d Map Making, 1919 - Australian War Records Section

3d Map Making, 1919 - Australian War Records Section

Relief map of Polygon Wood, Belgium, 1919 - Australian War Records Section

Relief map of Zonnebeke area, Belgium, 1919 - Australian War Records Section

Relief map of the Cairngorm moutains machined in Polyurethane model block - The Cutting Room, CNC Routing

Relief map of Dorset machined in Polyurethane model block - The Cutting Room, CNC Routing

Sources and further information





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Layered Landscapes

Images suspended on layers of glass or transparent plastic sheet to represent three-dimensional objects or landscapes.

Glass Relief, p.61, Terrain Models and Relief Map Making, Technical manual TM 5-249, Washington 1956

Progress, 2006 - David Spriggs

Axis of Power, 2009 - David Spriggs (installation in progress)

Layer Drawing, Aomori Forest, 2010 - Nobuhiro Nakanishi

Sources and further information




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Dioramas – the edge of the world, the end of the world and the time before


Before - The Diorama of Hiroshima


After - The Diorama of Hiroshima

The beginning of the world

The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch, 1490-1510

A world in a world

Titan's Goblet, Thomas Cole, 1833

The edge of the world

A traveller at the edge of the world, Camille Flammarion, L'atmosphère: météorologie populaire, 1888

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Every Twenty Paces

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Shoreham Fort

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Prefab Roof

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The Hidden Half-Round

La Chasse, L'H du Siège, Valenciennes, John Grade, 2011

La Chasse, Foret Domaniale de Raismes, Scarpe-Escaut, John Grade, 2011

John Grade has been artist in residence at L’H du Siège, Valenciennes, France for the past three months during which time he has made two interrelated works that are now on show until 19 February, 2011.

La Chasse (The Hunt), is in two parts, a large sculpture in the gallery and a film shot around a temporary structure made in the Parc naturel régional Scarpe-Escaut. Both show forms that have half-round sections and that are the inverse of each other in several ways. The gallery sculpture is a dark and ponderous shadow to the other’s light and sketchy net.  They complete one another, top and bottom and share the same horizon like earth and sky.

There is an interesting sequence in the film in which hunters are following a trail in the forest by torchlight at night, their beams of light casting elongated forms into the darkness. There is something of the film-noir about it, as if someone has escaped – there is noise, heavy breathing, some confusion, all senses are poised to combat the darkness, to react, run or shoot.

See the film here.

That forest scene makes me think of both the hidden and the hunted and I was reminded of other half-round structures that I have been reading about recently. The Auxiliary Units created half-round Nissen hut style underground shelters and ammunition stores in woodland throughout Sussex to resist a possible German invasion in WWII. Many had narrow escape tunnels that expanded into larger, hemispherical spaces, like these at Ditchling and at Shipley near Horsham.

Auxiliary Unit Zero Station, Shipley

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Aerial Viewing

When a photograph becomes a map, when a map becomes a model.

Sources: annotated photograph, aerial map, artist map, model landscape.

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The Affected Area

I am researching examples of how geographical areas of interest or exclusion are illustrated in fiction by a drawn line on a map.

In John Wyndham’s science fiction novel, The Midwich Cuckoos, 1957,  (later filmed as The Village of the Damned, 1960) a circular line is plotted on a map to determine the area around the village of Midwich in which people are mysteriously falling unconscious.

“One watching private stepped forward with his bucket and daubed a little whitewash on the grass, the other made a mark on his map. The party then moved along a dozen yards or so, and repeated the performance.”

“… and he produced a large‑scale map showing a perfect circle almost two miles in diameter, with Midwich Church lying somewhat south and a little east of its centre.”

In the film M, Fritz Lang, 1931, police searching for the killer of a child sweep an area of the city in ever-increasing circles in search of clues. An animated sequence of the film shows a compass line being drawn on a map as the search advances.

“Within a radius of 2 km, we have searched all the candy stores to find out where the bag came from, everyday our search widens…”

More on cinematic maps here…

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