© 2015 Cal Harben

in progress. Following the history of Marie Tharp, the first person, and woman, to create a complete topographical map of the ocean floor, helping to prove the theory of plate tectonics, this project layers together ideas of tracing, human geography, duration and movement.

When plate tectonics was first proposed, it was through the use of geopoetry to describe a (then) imagined geophysical occurrence. Plate tectonics is a poetics of variation, a slippage of surface, a transdimensional movement through time and space. It’s discovery in the 60s rocked a fixed understanding of a static earth, instead proposing a wandering of earth with the geological circular movement of matter. Within this reimagining of a fixed surface, one that is subsumed and consumed, continuously expelled and emerging, suddenly geologic time and space came into movement with our very being, the location of continents, boundaries and borders became temporal. Within plate tectonic theory, there exist three categories to describe the transient movement of large plates of the earth's lithosphere, seemingly floating and fluid.

1. convergent, two or more plates that move towards
2. divergent, two or more plates that move away from
3. transformative, ones that slip against

The Map is (not) The Territory proposes a radical rethinking of the geologic categories of movement to interrogate notions of agency/collectivity and autonomy/morality, as they relate to temporalities of confrontation, exile and utopia. Using a visual language of mirroring, doubling and repeating, to extract a long-now model of time against a linear concept and path of time.


watercolour on drafting vellum
reproduced print on transparent acetate of World Ocean Map (1977) by Marie Tharp
mounted and framed between two panes of glass
Installation photo from TSG: Fall To Pieces, Toronto (CA) 2015