Points of Departure
Jessica Langley & Ben Kinsley

As tourists in this village, we explored the town by asking local residents we met during our two week stay to point us to their favorite place(s). We asked them to provide hand-drawn maps which we then translated as engravings on granite tablets. These tablets were installed at the sites where the directions were given, so that future passersby may notice this spot as they would a commemorative marker or sign and follow the directions for an unexpected journey. None of the maps are precise or to scale, and rather than express an objective point of view, we aimed to capture the personal or subjective understanding place.

This potential to share different perspectives of the town for those who are most familiar with it (and for first time visitors) is what interests us most. Rather than a marker providing information on a site of interest from a fixed perspective, the series of markers in “Points of Departure” offer varying perspectives on the local landscape. Granite plaques were chosen based on the vernacular use of descriptive signage; some indicating names of houses, others providing information about a site. None of the markers are at the site of interest, but rather they ask viewers to explore beyond what is made obvious and to follow in someone else’s footprints.

Both public and private destinations are featured, and while this project nods to tourism in a place that is somewhat off the map (Askeaton is not a featured destination in popular tour guides or on bus tours of the area), we want to insert a bit of wonder and surprise into the daily experiences of local residents. We are interested in both how the person who drew the map conceives of his or her own landscape, and how the viewer may interpret and/or experience this perspective.

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