The outcome of my work has been a pair of studies, each comprised of three snapshots. Each snapshot is a map, a representation, of my experience of pathways in either my imaginal landscape, the political landscape, or a blended image where imaginal and political are mapped together.

Olympia Study

Olympia Study

These two studies seem to suggest a sequential order from consensus to imaginal through blended, or from imaginal to consensus. In actually I started with imaginal first, then developed the consensus snapshot, and finally represented as closely as possible the majority of my own travels mapped on the consensus.

Puget Sound Study

Puget Sound Study

It seems clear to me that my experience of the pathways in my place is bounded by the political landscape and there appears to be no representation of an engagement with the vernacular landscape. In this sense, I rarely change the physical paths of my place; I don’t inhabit my landscape because I don’t create the inhabited landscape or change it. I may alter my own footsteps, but the physical path is not discernibly altered by my passing. And, if the changes I make on the physical path are not discernible then I certainly have no discernable impact on the consensus, shared political map.

While the vast majority of my travel this month is represented, but of course there are side trips and small variations that are not discernable, do not rise above the threshold of these maps. Any representation of my vernacular engagement is almost entirely through my imaginal landscape and my pathing through that is unshared and private, and irrelevant to the community.

Vernacular Landscape

Vernacular Landscape

Political Landscape

Political Landscape

On the other hand, it seems clear that the pathways on which I travel through my imaginal landscape are only nominally and marginally related to the consensus. My imaginal is broad and graceful; my actual is angular and stunted – like the difference between the an animal in it’s natural, changing environment and the pacing of a zoo animal … back and forth tracing the boundaries of a cage, the political landscape in which it is trapped.

I appear in the imaginal snapshot, but as the consensus map solidifies into view and as my imaginal path is mapped onto the consensus map, I begin to fade from relevance. And, in the consensus map I am not discernible; I don’t appear to really exist.

This inescapably mundane reality that seems to falsify my imaginal landscape and path fills me with the desire to burn my possessions and start a walkabout, to radically abjure this assimilation.

Posted by John Bell on May 11, 2006
Tags: Sigils of Imagination

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