These Not a Drop to Drink cartographies (2022) of the five dialogic meal events undertaken in Not a Drop to Drink, are experimental documentation, while being an artwork in themselves. These are maps of Place that prioritise stories over Cartesian features of dimensions or markers for navigation and are produced from the transcripts of the conversations, making them available for ‘spectators’ not at the meal event/s.
The maps are presented with dried drought-tolerant plant material pressed between two glass sheets, the map printed on the front glass panel. The materiality speaks to the glass dining table that the meals and conversations took place around. Each map is different, with the conversation text and plants varied between the five pieces. As part of the documentation of the project, the maps exist in a unique way. Where audio or video recordings would be readily regarded as documentation, the maps have a spatial presence showing how dense and complex the conversations are and are importantly a non-linear representation of the conversation. So while serving as documentation, they are also a work on their own. They are another way of sharing the stories.
As Doreen Massey writes, ‘western maps have been one more element in that long effort at the taming of the spatial’ (Massey 2005, 106). Instead, my maps highlight local voices and stories to convey a place, not control it. These maps have a multiplicity to them, and can be viewed and read in various ways, representing Place as multiple, complex and interrelated (Graham 2006). Where Cartesian maps colonise space and produce a static representation of place, the Not a Drop to Drink maps emphasise the role of storytelling in the production of space – as Michel de Certeau asserts, ‘what the map cuts up, the story cuts across’ (de Certeau 1984, 129).
These maps prioritise Place over space.
This work was produced as part of a practice-based PhD at Monash University through Wominjeka Djembana and are on display in the research lab from mid-July til late 2022.
De Certeau, Michel. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Graham, Mary. 2006. Introduction to Kummara Conceptual Framework on Place: A Discourse on a Proposed Aboriginal Research Methodology. Brisbane, Qld: Kummara Association.
Massey, Doreen. 2005. For Space. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publishing.