"I have long, indeed for years, played with the idea of setting out the sphere of  life-bios graphically on a map" 

    _ Walther Benjamin, A Berlin Chronicle, 1978


It has been my long-term plan to develop a series of images that reflect the art in science, to develop art and multidisciplinary collaborations, challenge the norm and provide a safe place to explore new research. The images show  where it all began for me, as a student geologist mapping the Sub-Alps close to Castellane and the Gorge du Verdon in the Haupte Provence region of France with a 35mm film Pentax camera. The folding and gravity gliding structures of the La Batie Limestone mountains providing a vessel and metaphor for later research. Who would have known I would return to these images years later and the beginning of an investigation into photographic  'Mapping Projects'. The projects create a backbone for my visual art work and photography, a vehicle to embed the story. 


Just as a cartographic map develops layer by layer so does my research and creation of my imagery. Using the idea of how mapping has evolved from one of the earliest  maps ' The map of the World' compiled, probably in Lincoln and Hereford, by 1300.   to present day maps. Today I use some of the aspects of cartographic theory to structure my artwork. It evolves as the Enlightenment Period evolved in the 17C and 18C from the literal visions of what an image is to an increased  production of map making. Maps that can be read layer by layer or in a rhetorical way. Using this method I can ensure that I do not define science, when dealing with the biological or delve too long on opinion when considering the planet and it geology or define anyone by their illness when considering the evolutionary impact both the biological and geological has on human beings. 


The Biological, Geological and Evolute are a collections of images that are interlinked, they are connected and the relationship between the images often guide the visual experience. Using a multidisciplinary and often collaborative approach, I combine different photographic and mixed media techniques to create the imagery. I imagine the body, the project, the idea as a map that develops and evolves around mapping theory. 

The Collections of Images in each category experiments with layering, deconstruction and reconstruction. It reflects fragility, geometry and displacement. It tests boundaries between the human and the environmental and reflects on the affect of those distortions on our well being. The portfolio intends to reveal an intrinsic and subliminal feeling of how our internal and external worlds collide, just as art and cartography collide in map-making. The abstraction provides a safe place for the audience to view the art. The images ambiguity often foreshadows the future, are complex, often set in a fluid-like liquid environment and reflects the flow of time. 

THE FUTURE is unknown both biologically and geologically. As the world shifts and changes around us, we try to learn to pre-empt and adapt to our environment. We try to understand the impact of human behaviour and our interaction with the world. How technology and our socio-economic environment directly affects our future. We try to do something about it, through art, through visually stimulating stories, through collaborating and connecting with others. All we can do is keep trying!

© Yas Crawford. 1982, 2019. Mapping Castellane, France

© Yas Crawford. 1982,2019. Mapping Castellane, France

© Yas Crawford. 1982,2019. Mapping Castellane, France

© Yas Crawford. 2020. Mapping Castellane, France

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