Sunday, March 25, 2018

"Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline"

This book has moved from various studios and at this stage, two different coffee tables, for a couple years now. It was stained from an accidental red wine spill and the discoloration goes well with the subject matter (words I never thought I would utter). In a Herculean effort this spring to finish projects that are essentially complete but require a few days of concentrated effort in front of the computer, it was time to revisit it this morning.

As I press forward with the completion of Camden's Rock: 2012 - 2017, I have become fascinated with the presentation of chronological timelines from the past, whether they are pocket-sized (as in the top image) or scrolls. This chart above from the late 1870s was sold as an accordion book and on rollers for wall mounting. I am curious how such a large amount of information can be stored in a compact manner.

Conversely, this little red scroll is nearly two inches wide and is one of the smallest that was ever published. The Stream of Time on the bottom is wound on a roller in a box which has great appeal in terms of protection and a method of reading that will not cause stress to the paper.

Of all the objects presented in Cartographies of Time, Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg's Chronographie universelle was the one that I wanted most to see in person (and hold). The paper is mounted on cranks and enclosed in a little case that reminds me of something one would find in a printmaking studio.

I am not sure what Camden's Rock will look like when it is done but I can say that it's a 2.2 GB file that is 630" long with 83 images and as of this weekend, it is finally edited and assembled and sent to the designer to fill in the text. Nearly every part of that sentence is huge.

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