Maps and Memory: New VIEWPOINTS

Do you compare this map to one in your memory? Do you wish for a map to be a faithful reflection of the world? Or do you wonder to what relationships the map is faithful? When you look at The World From Memory, can you see yourself through your own questions? – Luke Bergmann, UW Assistant Professor, Department of Geography

VIEWPOINTS highlights select works from the Henry’s permanent collection and offers three perspectives on the work by University of Washington faculty members.

This iteration of VIEWPOINTS features the work of Emma Kay, a British artist. Kay incorporates various feats of memorization into her art. In the work on display, titled The World From Memory II, she draws a map of the world from memory complete with place names. Kay is interested in individual memory and how it processes maps, literature, religion, and the past – subjects she considers “the stuff of shared understanding.” Commenting on her work with maps, Kay states, “I quickly realized that we depend on maps as essential aids to memory precisely because they depict information that we can’t possibly hold in our heads.”

Kay’s work is displayed alongside the voices of UW faculty: Susan Joslyn, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology; Luke Bergmann, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography; and Deborah McCutchen, Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development, College of Education.

These three faculty members were specifically selected to respond to Kay’s artwork based on their research and teaching interests. We believe multiple voices can help expand our understanding of a work of art, cast a new light on overlooked details, and open our minds to new ideas.

Professor Joslyn teaches several Psychology classes focused on memory, including: PSYCH 462 Human Memory, PSYCH 568 Cognitive Approaches to Human Memory, and PSYCH 545: Advances in Cognition/Perception with a specific focus on Working Memory.

Professor Bergmann has a research interest in critical geovisualization as well as teaches GEOG 560: Principles of GIS Mapping. Geog 560 focuses on the origins, development, and methods of cartographic mapping. The course covers the principles of data representation and map design for thematic mapping and spatial analysis.

Professor McCutchen’s research focuses on cognitive processes underlying reading and writing ability. Central to her research is the question, “How are complex systems of knowledge used during reading and writing?”

VIEWPOINTS is a rotating series that presents new combinations of artworks and voices, emphasizing how works from the collection can inspire and provoke new dialogues and thoughts. Emma Kay’s artwork and accompanying faculty viewpoints will be on display on the Henry’s Mezzanine through March 2, 2014. Come and read each faculty response to the work and then form your own.

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