After Ptolemy

screenprinting with acid dye on silk | 8’ x 8’ x 15’ (installation) | approx. 6′ h x 4′ w (each panel) | 2013

After Ptolemy: Geographia, book 1, paragraph 1–6

In this piece, I represent the text of the oldest surviving treatise on cartography, Claudius Ptolemy’s Geography (2nd c. AD), on panels that are hung to create a reading-like experience as one walks through and past the piece. Each panel encodes one paragraph, using rectangular “bars” to stand for the words in the text. Using a set of dye formulas from the archives at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, I mixed 150 colors equally distributed across the color spectrum. Each panel uses 1/6th of those colors, assigned to particular words by their lexical and syntactic properties. Taken together, the six panels represent both the excerpted text from the Geography and the idea of cartography as an attempt to encompass the whole span of the world.