When The Map Meets The Territory April 5, 2016 John Holten
This is going to be fun, the point when we reach land is going to be both bewildering, and a great relief. A dark alleyway late at night in some enigmatic European city, a canal cutting through swamps that have long ago been filled in, reclaimed… Don’t worry, we’ll get there. This is a talk through the exhibition here around us by Lorenzo Sandoval. It is a talk about a story about the exhibition we are currently sitting and standing in, a bit unsteady on our feet. Stories – indeed literature itself – give us characters. We have to liberate these characters from their own stories. So that they become real, that they experience the personal and don’t just remain the representation of some imagined thoughts their creator once had. I can offer you – and the perspective of you is important, the second-person personal pronoun, both singular and plural – I can offer you just such a possibility of making your imaginary characters real in a few moments. Bear with me. But first: the map and the territory. The phrase is quite well known and in it I hear so many of my struggles as a writer: surprising perhaps, but you’re just going to have to believe me. Alfred Korzybski gave us the term, he had it in the negative: ‘The map is not the territory’ – yet he conceded, when a map is accurate, they can be useful. What we’re interested with here tonight is when the map meets the territory. What then?