I AM ADDICTED TO MAPS...
I get lost in an atlas for hours. And I see maps everywhere -- in patterns of nature or on an old plaster wall. It is not only the physical geography of a place that I absorb -- its topography and weather or the effects of its latitude and longitude. I also explore the marks of what men have made there. The maps that I study or imagine or create are the charts of human beings and their civilizations. Histories, economies, politics -- every aspect of how men think and behave is there.
The members of our human race are like coral building their reefs. Every day, 100,000 die and even more are born. Bits get added or go away. Like a reef, the organic structure we inhabit keeps growing or shrinking...and always changing.
Because of this, I am also obsessed with cities, with their overgrowth and development. Like so many others, I am schizophrenic about that evolution, too. I love to observe the meandering of a monstrous city like Cairo or Sao Paolo or L.A.; but then I am also appalled at the devouring sprawl. Perhaps it is this ongoing tension between nature and man that hypnotizes me -- the never-ending interplay of the creative and the destructive in each.
In my art, I create maps that explore this interaction by first imposing one radical, outside influence. Me. I can make an assumption that begets an entirely fictional world. I can also impose a single interference onto an existing civilization or geography, and that one interference must, by the laws of rationality, change the future or the past of that place. My intervention is always quite specific and logical to begin. Then, as my obsessive nature takes over and begins to drive the work I am creating, the more abstract that map will become. I love that irony. I love that something I put such intellectual rigor into is at the same time fanciful, and then ultimately creates an aesthetic experience.