Heidi Neilson, “Atlas Dream Sequence”
Artist: Heidi Neilson (Long Island City, NY)
Title: Atlas Dream Sequence (2011)
Medium/technique(s): Inkjet printed on Moab Entrada paper, letterpress text, drumleaf case bound by hand
Edition size: 25
Number of pages: 36
Dimensions, open: 11.125 x 11.125 x 1.5 in
Dimensions, closed: 5.75 x 11.125 x 1 in
Atlas Dream Sequence is a series of 16 collages made from maps, where each page spread collage is an imagined magnification from the previous spread—each image leads to the next in a powers-of-ten arrangement except there is no ‘ten’, no scale The front and back of the book are equal; the sequence can be read from either direction, either ‘zooming’ in or out. The images are symmetrical vertically and horizontally and emerge from the spine, and the book begins and ends with an inverse of the same square shape—the land and water map areas are reversed.
In my map collage pieces I try to remove the specificity of what the map describes so that the maps speak of general, universal aspects of land and space. I love how a mixture of big and small scales in maps—-towns and continents, ponds and oceans—-can be combined to create landscape features without scale, such as a circular pond-ocean; the details of different specific places work together, becoming ideas.
More generally in my work I seek to enhance our sense of place—to conceptualize a bigger context for a given situation. Each piece is an investigation, like a kind of orienting or positioning exercise, where something which is hard to grasp or is not visible can be perceived. My work usually takes the form of prints and artist books, which sometimes are documents of public projects or experiences. Often I use toys and other familiar objects, or common neighborhood features or landmarks as an anchoring counterpoint to a larger sense of imagined space. I like the form of the book for the sense it has of being a container which is, in being read, bigger on the inside.