Mapping errands

I wanted to map a journey for the set project Making Sense. I decided to map my errands because this was a mundane task near to where I live.

My first idea had been to map journeys I regularly took in the past. The problem with this, is I would have to travel further to get close to the subject. (Mapping from memory would likely prove inaccurate.)

On Wednesday 17th November 2021, I went on a journey for errands in Oxford.

To document my experience, I took notes in my notebook of the sounds, smells, sights and my route. I took photographs that I found interesting, that I felt said something or showed where I was. I imagined I was tying to show the way to someone who needed to follow the same journey and maybe doesn’t know the area.

I started the journey from my doorstep

When writing, I focused on the facts and details. This was an interesting experience for me because when usually on errands, I am either letting my thoughts drift or putting my opinion on everything I see.

Taking the journey in this way, felt mindful and freeing. I felt this exercise would be a good exercise for creative writing.


Our first task was to describe our object using only words. We worked in InDesign to create practice presentations.

I needed to think about how the words would be presented in slides. I wanted the slides to be:

  1. easy to read
  2. eye catching
  3. interesting to the viewer

I wanted to reflect the object’s design in my choice of font, and colour and layout.

Luisa gave us some reflections on these slides, which I found helpful when thinking about my final presentation.

We then were asked to repeat the exercise, this time using images only.

I used different placements of the images to make the viewing more interesting. For example, placing the image at the centre of the slide, left, right or covering the slide completely.

I placed the pictures in this order to show me noticing the clock in the museum and then zooming in to get a closer look of it.

I then went for the opposite effect and began by focusing on the details before walking away. I showed this by ending the slides with a far away image of the clock placed on the wall. This puts the clock in the context of the collection.

I cropped and altered the rotation of the image on the first slide. I chose this to reflect the ‘playful’ aspect of the message, expressed in the text.

For the second slide, I placed the text and image centrally to reflect the message. I drew lines across the image to highlight the spokes of the clock.

I left the line of ‘the hands frozen in time’ to its own slide. I did this to give the viewer a chance to pause and feel the stillness of the clock hands.

More mapping research

Mapping can be (re)conceptualized ‘as a suite of cultural practices involving action and affects. This kind of approach reflects a philosophical shift towards performance and mobility and away from essence and material stability’

Kitchen, Perkins and Dodge, Rethinking Maps

In Atlas of Emotion, Bruno discusses how the medium of film can be used to map the self. She also talks about how moving image could prompt understanding of the ways we might map spaces in film and an understanding of our engagement with landscapes.

Sohei Nishino

At the Tokyo exhibition in the Ashmolean museum last summer, I remember seeing artwork by this artist.

His collages are made in the photomontage style of David Hockney, but are laid out to be accurate and readable as a map. These maps, that he calls diorama maps, are made up of thousands of photos taken around a chosen city.

Jerusalem The JOURNAL by Sohei Nishino
Place: a short introduction by Tim Cresswell
Mapping Cultures: place, practice, performance Edited by Les Roberts
Iain Sinclair
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as seen from 1850 and overlaid on a Google map of the present building site
Mental maps

Hauntology- the past being present around us

Hauntology (a portmanteau of haunting and ontology) is a concept referring to the return or persistence of elements from the past, as in the manner of a ghost.

Hauntology – Wikipedia
What is hauntology? And why is it all around us? – BBC Ideas