The map above was sketched while my daughter practiced piano.

The Illustration Friday prompt this week is immovable. At first I thought I wouldn’t participate. I like motion in my drawings. I went ahead and did a little research anyway and I came across the following excerpt from “The Poet” (1844) by Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The use of symbols has a certain power of emancipation and exhilaration for all men. We seem to be touched by a wand, which makes us dance and run about happily, like children. We are like persons who come out of a cave or cellar into the open air. This is the effect on us of tropes, fables, oracles, and all poetic forms. Poets are thus liberating gods. Men have really got a new sense, and found within their world, another world or nest of worlds; for the metamorphosis once seen, we divine that it does not stop. I will not now consider how much this makes the charm of algebra and the mathematics, which also, have their tropes, but it is felt in every definition; as, when Aristotle defines space to be an immovable vessel, in which things are contained;—or, when Plato defines a line to be a flowing point; or, figure to be a bound of solid.”

Of course, I then had to read the whole essay. I love Emerson, but I kept thinking about the last few lines of the except. Plato’s idea that a line is a flowing point really appeals to me. When I draw my maps the “point” traces both time (the duration of the piece) and space (on the paper) as well as documenting  my feelings.  “Flow” is the perfect description.  I did a little more research to find out what Aristotle meant by an “immovable vessel” and found this quote from Physics

“Just as a vessel is a movable place, so place is an immovable vessel. That is why when something is in motion inside a moving object (imagine a ship on a river), the container functions as a vessel rather than as a place. Given that place is meant to be immovable, the whole river is really the place for the ship, because taken as a whole the river is immovable. And so place is the nearest unmoved limit of the container”

So… if the pen-point is the vessel and the line is the place…. then imagine a little boat floating along that river-line at night while someone on board plays Chopin and the crew dances and runs about happily. How’s that for immovable movement?

7 thoughts on “Nocturne

  1. What a wonderful image and thought provoking post Peggy. You have set my course for the day in a way that I could not have anticipated.
    Thank you. x

    bye the way, have been meaning to ask, what materials do you use when making your maps?

  2. Thanks all!
    Heather, My maps start out as sketches in my sketchbook, then get scanned and played with in Illustrator and Photoshop. I also scan paper textures and painted swatches to composite with my doodles. One day I’ll do a post documenting my whole process. I hope all’s well with you! xoxox

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