10 October 2007

Tim Robinson

One inspiration for my project is the West’s Tim Robinson. His maps of Connemara, the Burren and the Aran Islands are ultimately quiet traditional, based very closely on the Ordnance Survey, however they possess a fresh and beguiling human power. His Aran Mór map for example puts a name on virtually every crag and curve on its knobbly south face. These imply the kind of intense detail the islanders have come to known their island and suggest centuries of narrative. They speak of a landscape that is heartfelt by its human element. Loved or perhaps feared, but always known. You would not find these names on any other map. Robinson walks every mile of where he maps, tracing over the Ordnance Survey with updates, new information, and interests previously deemed unimportant by mapmakers. My interests are different but, like him, I will have to see everything with my own eyes. I wrote to him (my first fan letter) and in his reply Robinson advised me; “to do all that's necessary to preserve personal contact with the terrain on the one hand and the sheet of paper on the other.”