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In the Land of Collage, the Territory is the Map

– Posted in: Aesthetics Collage & Montage Creativity Dadaism Digital Art Digital Collage Inspiration Surrealism Wood Engravings Wordless Wednesday


Ancestral Map II (2012). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

“What a useful thing a pocket-map is!” I remarked.

“That’s another thing we’ve learned from your Nation,” said Mein Herr, “map-making. But we’ve carried it much further than you. What do you consider the largest map that would be really useful?”

“About six inches to the mile.”

“Only six inches!” exclaimed Mein Herr. “We very soon got to six yards to the mile. Then we tried a hundred yards to the mile. And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”

“Have you used it much?” I enquired.

“It has never been spread out, yet,” said Mein Herr: “the farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.”

— from Chapter 11, “The Man in the Moon,” in Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, by Lewis Carroll

The map is not the territory — Alfred Korzybski, Polish-American scientist and philosopher, 1931

The saying “The map is not the territory” has become a truism in intellectual circles. We cannot trust the map, a distillation of the data of our senses, to give us the true essence of the territory. The map guides us through the territory because the structure of the map is analogous — but not identical — to the structure of the territory. And so we pass through the territory without knowing the nature of it.

But with regard to the outside world, in any case, we are prisoners of our senses; we must depend upon them to bring us some indirect report of that world, and it is only within our imaginations that we can conceive of it directly.

Ancestral Map I (2012). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

Within collage, we make or find a map of the imagination. And it is a map to covet. For the collage map fulfills a dream far beyond the dreams of the mad cartographers in Sylvie and Bruno: collage not only corresponds perfectly point-to-point with the territory of imagination; it is that territory, or a part of it.

And when we dream of every such map ever created anywhere — seen or unseen, known or unknown — we see with the mind’s eye the vast territory that is the collective imagination, the territory that is the mosaic map called Collage.

RELATED POSTS: “On Interpretation & Interaction”

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text [except for quotations] created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)
72 Comments… add one

Related Posts

72 comments… add one
The Info Mouse January 10, 2012, 5:10 pm

Happy WW! I always learn something from your posts.

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 9:33 pm

Thanks for your compliment. And I learn so much from yours: that’s the largest clapperboard I’ve ever seen! Have a great WW.

Carol @There's Always Thyme to Cook January 10, 2012, 5:26 pm

I love your mosaic map! It’s really interesting, map of the mind.

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 9:31 pm

Thanks. Yes, that’s definitely how I see it: a collage maps the mind of its maker. And it’s fascinating to be able to see even a fraction of the mosaic, and the minds behind it, through the collages of others.

Just Winging It January 10, 2012, 5:28 pm

Happy Wordless Wednesday.

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 9:28 pm

Thanks. LOVE your cupcake post!

Mitch January 10, 2012, 5:29 pm

Very cool designs as always!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:44 pm

Thanks for your comment, Mitch! I enjoyed your post too — you have quite an eye for humorous photo ops.

Carol @There's Always Thyme to Cook January 10, 2012, 5:29 pm

Not sure if you got my comment, I got an error saying the server wasn’t live. But I wanted you to know I thought your mosaic map was excellent, and I enjoyed your post. Have a great week!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:41 pm

Thanks for stopping by to visit, Carol! My apologies about the error message. I’m glad the post pleased you.

PippaD @ A Mothers Ramblings January 10, 2012, 5:35 pm

That’s really made me think, it’s very apt for me at the moment!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:19 pm

I’m glad you liked it, Pippa. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your kind comment.

bethere2day ""LINKY"" January 10, 2012, 5:44 pm

Awesome as usual 😉

Have a brilliant day 😉

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:18 pm

Thanks, Steve! Hope you also have a great day.

stevebethere January 12, 2012, 4:19 am

Ive popped back thinking my comment had not submitted because when I did the comment and clicked submitted your blog became unobtainable and I couldn’t get it to load after that.

Anyway glad it submitted OK 🙂

I just noticed your using Thesis framework too, It’s a fab theme 🙂

Have a brilliant day Eric

Eric Edelman January 13, 2012, 1:12 am

Thanks, Steve. I’m sorry you’ve had problems getting onto my blog. Glad your comment did go through. I really don’t know what the problem is, but I’m trying to find it out and solve it. If you have any trouble in future, could you kindly e-mail me ( with the nature of the trouble and any error messages you might have received? That would really help.

Yes Thesis is a great theme, very versatile and easy to change. I also use it for my other blogs and websites. Thanks for your comments, and have a great day!

Barefoot Mahala w/linky January 10, 2012, 6:05 pm

Happy WW!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:17 pm

Thanks — happy WW to you too!

SavingwithSaveOne January 10, 2012, 6:24 pm

Never seen this method of entry before so I would like to participate but don’t know how it works until I click submit. Hopefully I’ll figure it out.

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:14 pm

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a link! And Welcome!

Lisa w/linky January 10, 2012, 6:41 pm

Very cool pictures

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:10 pm

Thanks, Lisa!

Joyce January 10, 2012, 7:17 pm

You have the coolest art on this site!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:09 pm

Thanks, Joyce! Glad you liked the pictures. I enjoyed your posting too.

Erika Price {Linky} January 10, 2012, 7:30 pm

Great post Eric! We are certainly prisoners of our senses, particularly as there may be many more senses – as there are dimensions – we are as yet unaware of!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:02 pm

Thanks, Erika! I particularly enjoyed your posting this week too. I don’t doubt the existence of other senses we’re not yet aware of; William Blake, our favorite poet, once said in The Marriage of Heaven & Hell: “How do you know, but every Bird that cuts the airy way is an immense World of Delight, clos’d by your Senses Five?” Works for me!

The House of Hild January 10, 2012, 7:59 pm

My first wordless Wednesday on my blog- how fun!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 9:13 pm

Thanks for stopping by! I enjoyed your post very much: a trip down Memory Lane….

sugarcoatedpink January 10, 2012, 8:25 pm

Nice art you have here.. 🙂

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 9:00 pm

Thanks for visiting and for your kind comment! January 10, 2012, 8:27 pm

Fantastic art… 🙂 you are so great.

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:56 pm

Thanks so much for your kind comment and for stopping by!

princesscj haven January 10, 2012, 8:29 pm

great art… visiting you here from WW: .:)

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 9:03 pm

Thanks for your visit and your comment!

CFMC January 10, 2012, 8:43 pm

Thanks for the *sparkler* tip! I’ll try glow sticks! =) Happy W/W!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 8:54 pm

Have fun! Happy WW to you too!

NCSue (I follow back!) January 10, 2012, 9:29 pm

Hope you’ll join in with my WW post, too!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 9:59 pm

Thanks! Yes, I just did; your photos are great!

Create With Joy January 10, 2012, 9:33 pm

Very Cool!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 10:06 pm

Thanks! Love your cat photo this week.

Susie January 10, 2012, 9:36 pm

always so interesting!!!

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 10:07 pm

Thanks so much — have a terrific WW!““““““““““

krystyl olson January 10, 2012, 10:29 pm

Hi there, I’m your newest follower – I Found you VIA Sakura Haruka’s WW blog hop!
I’d love a new follower If you could take a second to check me out;

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 11:34 pm

Hi Krystyl, and welcome! Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ve just left a comment at yours. Happy WW!

jessica @peekababy January 10, 2012, 11:21 pm

i definitely feel like i am often a prisoner of my senses. as a parent of two small children, i’d say generally smell and hearing lol

Eric Edelman January 10, 2012, 11:39 pm

Haha! I suppose so — I wonder how my parents survived captivity with us! Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

Cafe au lait January 11, 2012, 12:48 am

Cool pic! Happy WW.

Eric Edelman January 11, 2012, 1:55 pm

Thanks for your visit and your kind comment!

Yummy Inspirations January 11, 2012, 1:14 am

Have a Yummy Wordless Wednesday! 🙂

Eric Edelman January 11, 2012, 1:52 pm

Thanks, I will — and hope yours is the same! (Many thanks also for your great recipe this week.)

Robin from Israel January 11, 2012, 2:03 am

Indeed, and I would add that as the map is not the territory, neither is the image. The world is not what you see portrayed in a 30 second sound byte on the evening news, and nowhere is that more true than here in Israel.

My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography on etsy and Society6 and bring home something beautiful today!

Eric Edelman January 11, 2012, 1:45 pm

Thanks for your visit and your thoughtful comment, Robin. Yes, I’d agree with you that no single image is ever the territory. And I completely agree that Israel gets unfairly represented by the images and sound bytes of it that are noised abroad.

Lena Sledge's Blog January 11, 2012, 9:53 am

Nice artwork. Very creative.

Eric Edelman January 11, 2012, 1:40 pm

Thank you! Yours is also very creative, and stimulates my mind to take new channels; thanks for that as well. And I hope you have a blessed and imaginative WW.

Pearlsa January 11, 2012, 10:18 am

Interesting! happy WW 🙂

Eric Edelman January 11, 2012, 1:31 pm

Thanks, and a happy WW to you, too!

aquariann January 11, 2012, 12:37 pm

What fantastic dreams you have and collage into reality! Great Lewis Carroll excerpt, too. 😀

Eric Edelman January 11, 2012, 1:31 pm

Thanks very much, Aquariann! It was a challenge to work with the layering of the images in this way, but the results seem to point in an interesting direction. So perhaps it’s time to take this path and see where it leads.

Sylvie and Bruno is the Lewis Carroll that nobody reads anymore; it was allowed to go out of print and, like Carroll’s other published work, is in the public domain in the United States (you can Google it and find several sites where you can download it for reading). It ends in a less satisfying way than either of the Alice books, and its plot is less cohesive as well. But I couldn’t pass up including the quote on the one-to-one scale map when I found it!

Jenny K January 11, 2012, 1:27 pm

Interesting art. I’ve never really thought of using maps that way before!

Eric Edelman January 11, 2012, 2:07 pm

Maps can be wonderful imaginative stimulators, and there are many maps out there that are in the United States public domain, and thus free for use without restriction. So feel free to “explore” using them! (Great pictures of the Virgin Islands, by the way.)

claire January 11, 2012, 3:55 pm

Hi after coming here for weeks I’ve learn how to link up 🙂 sorry i’m so thick 🙂

Eric Edelman January 11, 2012, 4:49 pm

No problem, Claire; you’re not thick at all — none of us is born knowing this stuff! Thanks for your comment and welcome!

Meghan @JaMonkey January 11, 2012, 7:06 pm

I love the altitude maps in there.

Eric Edelman January 13, 2012, 1:15 am

Thanks, Meghan! Maps are really fun to use in collage.

Kathryn January 11, 2012, 9:59 pm

Stunning; I love it! I always find the best and most original Wordless Wednesdays right here. 🙂

Eric Edelman January 11, 2012, 11:52 pm

Thanks, Kathryn! That’s very kind of you to say.

Erika Price {Linky} January 12, 2012, 4:36 am

How profound that we pass through the territory – our world, our lives even – without knowing the nature of it.Yes, we truly are prisoners of our senses! Thanks for another great post, Eric 🙂

Eric Edelman January 13, 2012, 1:13 am

Thanks, Erika! I really appreciate your kind words.

Deborah January 19, 2012, 12:49 pm

I find it amazing how we are trying to map everything there is. From the tiniest molecule to the reaches of space. Yes I realize the information is useful.

Eric Edelman January 19, 2012, 11:31 pm

It’s one way that we attempt to understand the universe we live in, Deborah; a measure of our curiosity. Thanks for your comment!

Laser Hair Removal Gal January 26, 2012, 4:08 am

Love this story – thanks a lot!

Eric Edelman January 26, 2012, 2:31 pm

You’re welcome, “Laser.” Thanks for your comment.

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