I have been playing with the idea of unmapping for some time (I started collecting maps about a year ago), but I’ve found that my original concepts aren’t really workable. I had envisioned using gouache to paint over the map thus painting out all traces of people – but at a certain conceptual level that’s really not all that compelling, the process is more interesting than the final result for one, and for a second problem it’s hard to get past the fact that the full map is still under the paint, thus I’m not eliminating anything, but rather obfuscating.
This is one of the maps that I was fiddling digitally – after deciding that paint was not the correct answer – digital is better, but still not all the way there, that and I’m not a fan of computers for painting (that’s actually a big factor), but ultimately I’m still working with maps and all of the overlaid data. I also tried tracing to mylar and using cell painting techniques, which has greater possibilities, especially with different types of maps.
Ultimately with the paper maps I’m beginning to think that the only logical answer is to burn them and use their ashes for a work – this has the advantages that I can video it, and that I get to burn something, which is always a plus in terms of making something more interesting.