- towards a three-dimensional mapping of our separate
- journeys, their intersections and divergences...
a collaboration with artist Di Clay
Our project goes back to 2005, our first ‘real’ meeting an accidental encounter on the pavement in Carlisle’s marketplace. We began to meet regularly in one of Carlisle’s cafes, Bar Solo opposite the station a favourite, and found numerous correspondences in our lives, those coincidences of time and place which seem so remarkable and delightful, and which give rise to the idea that our individual journeys through life are less separate than we suppose. We discovered that we might actually have brushed shoulders on a street somewhere years before we ‘met’ in person.
in our desire
to share our mutual delight in this ‘intersectionography’
our Mapping Memory project began as an attempt to design and create a concrete model of our overlapping histories, such that our distinct paths could be seen simultaneously. Comparing our timelines highlighted the correspondences and divergences. Our different disciplines – Di as a visual artist, Kate as a writer – seemed to create an opportunity for fruitful exploration. We looked to other map-makers for inspiration and support, considering in particular mapping as an act of imagination and the shaping of memory as construction and reconstruction. We read and discussed the work of other artists; in particular, the ‘walking diaries’ of Rebecca Solnit, Robert MacFarlane, Karl Ove Knausgård and Iain Sinclair and the work of Richard Long. Making the leap from abstract to concrete and realising our ideas including in a three-dimensional form has remained a work-in-progress! After many years of experiments with tracing paper and cardboard cut-outs, we have found some temporary solutions and have amassed also a good deal of text, voice recordings and some film, as well as photos and objects.
our work has
been shown as part of a larger exhibition and we were working towards a solo show when the pandemic put our plans on hold so a virtual exhibition seemed the obvious solution. To view the exhibition, follow this link:
If you enjoy the exhibition and would like to see more, the archive that follows contains all the material we have gathered so far.
Almost 20years on, our paths have diverged geographically, separating us by 200 land miles and over 350 miles of sea. Still our project and our friendship have survived a dozen or more house moves as well as job changes and the loss of family members. Significant also have been changes in our personal circumstances and especially our health, leaving us both feeling more vulnerable.. As we approach ‘later life’ - is that the most appropriate term?! - our ability to live independently is challenged and compromised. At the same time there is a pressing sense of ‘the fact, for it is a fact, that there is no arm to cling to, but that we go alone’. It’s difficult to know how to face the future with confidence or courage, or even with equanimity.
discovery of John Burnside’s poem ‘Winter Landscape with Skaters…’ has been especially precious: the sense that, like the skaters on the ice in Pieter Brueghel’s 1565 painting, Winter Landscaspe with Skaters and Bird Trap, we may manage a brief (and unsatisfactorily ‘slithering’) escape from our routine agonies but we are ultimately as vulnerable as the birds are to the dangers of their trap, and as oblivious. For Burnside what ‘matters’, though, is the notion of ‘grace’, of an ‘old belonging’: that for all our ultimate aloneness, there is someone keeping pace with us, walking alongside, ‘other to’ our ‘other’. In the darkest days, the companionship that we have discovered, the intersection of our consciousnesses and experiences, creates a kind of steadiness, some heart with which to look ahead.
 Our thanks to Nick Clay for the term
 See Mapping It Out, ed. Hans Ulrich Obrist
 Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own
 John Burnside: ‘Pieter Brueghel: Winter Landscape with Skaters and Bird Trap, 1565’