Memory Maps


Emily Tapp discusses memory mapping, an artistic approach which allows her to record her daily sensory experiences

My interest in mapping began when I moved to Cornwall to begin my studies in Fine Art. After reading into psychogeography I became hooked on the concept; the point where psychology and geography meet to analyse the emotional impact of a place on its human inhabitants. This discovery of psychogeographic ideas and the artist’s role as cartographer sparked me to explore the theory of deep mapping; the conceptual art of cartography.

Photography: Emily Tapp
Photography: Emily Tapp

Immersing myself on walks, I record fleeting moments in my journal which I reflect upon back in the studio. A visual documentation of my wanderings, my works are an imaginative reworking of places I want to remember. My art can be understood as a memory inventory; each colour or line alluding to a person, a place or a conversation. A personal statement about the spirit of a moment.

Recently, my interest in mapping moments has extended to an obsession with photography. In recording light, I have been mapping out my daily sensory experiences through the shadows that warp in flux as the sun moves in the sky. I capture this transience through a lens and re-record it through printmaking processes. The mapping element comes to play in retrospect, with an expressive response that derives from the original memory I have considered since the camera shutter.

Mapping, for me, is not the traditional topography you observe on an ordnance survey map. The cartography I am interested in is the documentation of the emotional geographies that surrounds us daily. Artist Etel Adnan said that “maps are not about shapes but about energies flowing in and out of places”. This is what my maps are for; concisions of the energies and nostalgia I want to conserve. Art is my tool to care for these moments, keeping them in existence through a body of work that acts as a personal atlas of memories.


Photography: Emily Tapp
Photography: Emily Tapp


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