Back to Recent Work
Single channel video, 14min.
The project began in the fall of 1992 while I was a design studio teaching assistant with the University of Waterloo's School of Architecture 4th year Rome Program. It returns to preoccupations investigated in thesis work of 1991: Detroit Map-Fold Book, Flat House and Unfolded House.
The subject of the piece is Nolli's 1748 figure/ground map of Rome. The extremely accurate, entirely black and white map was commissioned by Clement XII partly to serve as an instrument of control over the city. Nolli's inventive map-making strategy was to show all public spaces in white and private inaccessible spaces in black. The Nolli map, as it's known, was the result of seven years of measuring and recording by a group of surveyors. The video deals with the disjuncture between the touristic nature of the act of mapping and the resulting map.
The video is made up of a series of still photographs taken along a route at even intervals of around fifteen feet with the camera pointing straight up at the cornice lines of buildings. The route - from the Baroque Piazza of S. Ignazio down a street and into the Pantheon, inside the Pantheon and around it - is photographed with a 35mm camera. The photos are printed in black and white, the resulting images reminiscent of the Nolli map. The photographs are scanned and digitally animated to a rhythm that gives the effect of walking. Instead of the ground being the subject of the view, the path of travel is along the cornice lines and sky.
Path of Travel