The Atlas of Nowhere
THE ATLAS OF NOWHERE (ISBN 0-9686647-2-4 112 pages) was completed in October 2004, after receiving a production grant from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2003. An edition of 200 copies was printed, with a 1¾” diameter circular hole die-cut through the centre of the book, from cover to cover.
This bookwork is best described as a collection of de-centred maps and related metaphysical ideas, framing the central hole, defining an interior marginality or portable nothingness. The narrative elements in The Atlas of Nowhere follow a loosely historical thread, incorporating stories and figments from the myths and the history of Scientific thought. The maps themselves, arranged as paired polar opposites on facing pages, are mostly based on the Azimuthal Equidistant Projection (Great Circle Map), plotted from a given point (e.g. Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 20º N, 75º W) and its opposite (corresponding in this case to 20º S, 105º E, somewhere off the Western Australian coast).
These are reworked with the polar coordinate filter in Adobe Photoshop to assume the donut form which characterizes many of my maps. Other maps which accompany the narrative passages were plotted using the Cylindrical Equidistant Projection, successively zooming in on a given geographic location, along with its antipode (opposite point).
Most of the large maps were compiled using two programs, a Windows-98 era shareware for Ham Radio maps (Great Circle Maps or GCM) programmed by Roger Hedin (Sweden), and a Windows-95 era educational software package (Cartographic Map Projections of the World) by Axion Spatial Imaging (Edmonton, Canada). GCM was used for the linear elements (coastlines, borders, latitude/longitude lines) with the Axion software supplying the colour fill for topographic and bathymetric textures. The latter was also very useful for plotting text and images ‘into’ the maps, as it can be programmed to create map projections from imported bitmaps. This process was not so straightforward, as the very small bitmap output from the Cartographic Map Projection software required tracing vector graphics over the text and image projections, for better legibility. Further compilation of the raw map projections was assembled in Adobe Photoshop and Corel Draw (also Corel PhotoPaint). The cover was printed in two colours on the offset printer at etc. Press in Halifax; the pages were output on soft-gloss paper using a large-format colour laser printer (HP 8550) which I purchased in late 2003. The books were signature-bound at Gaspereau Press in Kentville, Nova Scotia, and the central and most important feature, the die-cut holes, were rendered by Halifax Folding Cartons, in Windsor, Nova Scotia.cf2