10 July 2021

A day of drawings, films, performances and homegrown food, exploring alternative practices of cartography in architecture, landscape, art and psychology.

“And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!” “Have you used it much?” I enquired. “It has never been spread out, yet ... the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well...” 

From Lewis Carrol, Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, Chapter XI, London, 1895

On Saturday 10th July, a one-day multi-disciplinary forum discussed alternative practices of cartography. Participants from the worlds of architecture, landscape, painting, sound, sculpture, technology and film shared perspectives and possibilities of drawing as world-building. Talks, sketchbook chats, poetry performances and film screenings moved through the gardens and greenhouses throughout the day. On Wednesday 14th July we held a webinar of extended talks.

The forum explored the half-place that balances between place and imagination, between objectivity and impossibility, truth and myth, the tangible and the ephemeral; charting places that were, are, and could be. How does the discrepancy between the world we live in and the means we have to represent it provide opportunities for imagined space to take on its own agency? 

Conversations expanded beyond traditional map-making conventions and mediums to consider experimental drawing methods including notation, translation, film screenings, performance, fiction and sound; practices that provoke the imagination and inhabit the “mind’s eye”. How does the language of cartography curate and shape the way in which we imagine, and how do we begin to chart and document spaces and territories that exist primarily in the mind?  

The Day

The day navigated across four terrains, weaving between the greenhouses and gardens:
I. Lines that lead / Footsteps that follow: Conversations in the greenhouse
II. Retracing familiar ground: The Drawing Board, featuring original drawings from the Drawing Matter archive.
III. Worlds that whisper / Tales that tell: Films and objects
IV. Guides for getting lost: Poetry and Performance in the garden

Conversations were led by Niall Hobhouse, Nat Chard and Dr David Roberts. Speakers included:

Kirsty Badenoch
Dr Penelope Haralambidou
Eloise Maltby Maland
Charnjeev Kang
Sayan Skandarajah  
Saskia Olde Wolbers
ScanLab Projects 
Doug Specht  
Llew Watkins
Dr Izabela Wieczorek  

The Drawing Board

The forum anchored around a hand-curated selection of original drawings from the Drawing Matter archive, including works by Zaha Hadid, Peter Wilson, Guy Debord and Madelon Vriesendorp. 

Drawing Matter is a public forum for examining the architectural drawing as an active way of thinking about, expressing and making architecture. Niall Hobhouse established the working collection 25 years ago, containing thousands of drawings, sketchbooks and models, dating from the sixteenth century to the present.

A Culinary Journey

A delicious menu of seasonal home-grown vegetarian food and refreshments was served throughout the day, curated by Omved’s creative food team and led by Jo March.

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