Mapping the mind

Mapping the Mind by Nicole McKenna
Phibsboro Tower
Dublin 7

September, 2010


This artwork exists in two formats:

1. Digital book format – Mental Mapping

2. Multi-card Rolladex – Desk-library Machine

“I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world” This is the first line of the JG Ballard prose poem from 1984, What I Believe. The first line of the second verse “I believe in my own obsessions”  is a starting point for a lot of my work. As a traveler and collector of place(s) I am intrigued with how experience/memory filters our interpretations, and in how input and manipulation thereof, create and affect output. My recent introduction to the writing of JG Ballard, WG Seabald, Jorge Luis Borges and Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov saw this awareness reach new heights. While these writers origins span different countries and indeed eras, they are essentially story creators and purveyors of worlds – sometimes real, often not. It is the representation of the real with the unreal and the format and form of their writings that interest me, and has informed my work, “Mental mapping”. These writers escort us through beautifully described, almost visual worlds through stories that appear to be anchored geographically but transcend time and reality though a multitude of layers, and labyrinths. For me, the form, format and construct of their writings hover over the narrative at all times and engage me beyond the stories themselves. The scaffolding of skilful construction is always evident and their powerful, yet playful use of language and sense, challenges the reader’s engagement and interpretation. The writer/constructor always present, despite the use of narrator(s) or narration. The reader/interrupter plays a role beyond passive consumer of word and story – all become players – unconscious inputters forming output – and input, and output…..

Literary works which have influenced “Mental mapping”
Concentration City (J G Ballard)
Memories of the Space Age (J G Ballard)
Pale Fire (Vladimir Nabokov)
The Garden of Forking Paths (Jorge Luis Borges)
The Rings of Saturn (W G Seabald)
The Voices of Time (J G Ballard)
Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (Jorge Luis Borges)

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