241 Things

1000 Things is a subjective encyclopedia of inspirational ideas, things, people, and events.

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241 Things

There is so much that asks for your attention in the ordinary, everyday life: the shopping lists that have been left in the grocery cart, little papers you find on the street or in the library, notes that have been left in books. I take them with me and collect them for a while, but then I discover a new fascination and the folder with, for example, ‘found items’ is somewhat deserted in my archive. Artists often have better focus and keep collecting to the very end of what might be a beautiful booklet. Artist Kris Harzinski published a paperback titled From Here to There.
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To prepare his moving to another house, he had started to tidy thoroughly. In one of his stacks of old papers he found a number of maps that people had drawn for him to explain a route or situation. This was the beginning of an archive for maps drawn by hand and the foundation of HDMA, the Hand Drawn Map Association. This collection can be found on www.handmaps.org. A little sketch to show someone the way or to describe a situation mostly shows how incomplete our experience is of the map on which we all move around. During the Venice Biennale I and four others lodged in a wonderful old apartment for a week. On the way back, one of my fellow travelers asked the others to draw a map of it. Which was difficult, for how did that corridor, kitchen and all those rooms fit together again? Five entirely different houses were scribbled onto paper. Giving good directions is often an equally impossible task; you can walk the route without flinching, as if your body intuitively knows the route, but to give a precise description by heart is another matter completely.
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Kris Harzinski has collected all these attempts and expanded the series with broader criteria, such as maps that are hand-drawn by artists as official art. The categories are: direction maps, found maps, fictional maps, artful maps, maps of unusual places and explanatory maps. Unusual places contains the drawing by Marilyn Murphy, on which she indicates precisely in which places she is given the injections that are necessary for her arthritis. Harriette Hacker made a map of her face from which all the traces of the past can be read: the chickenpox, the scar from a nasty fall and a single beauty mark.

From Here to There is a beautiful paperback with a small text to accompany each map. However, the small size of the book takes its toll on legibility. Many drawings disappear in the centrefold or are simply too small for all the information. Which is a bit of a shame, because such maps make you want to go through them and sort them out thoroughly.

Everyone can send his or her hand-drawn map to www.handmaps.org.
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