On Monday 5th January 2015, I went to visit an exhibition by Sohei Nishino called ‘Diorama Maps’ in the Michael Hoppen Gallery. I found it very inspirational, particularly with the size the overall maps had been printed and displayed in the gallery. This gave me the chance to look at the maps from a distance as well as up close; observing the myriad of detail inside the maps, which were each made up of thousands of photographs.
My initial impression of the overall maps were they were like a map of his mind’s imagination: made up from his experience in each city. I noted, because each of the photographs making up the maps were taken from an aerial perspective, it was like a heightened sprawl of what was going on in his mind – a visual brainstorming session over a long period. In fact, the quite subtle use of lines made up of groups of similar photographs or sides of photographs to show a kind of framework of his mind.
The overall diorama map for each city looked like an unusual aerial city shot but with lots of extra character because the photographs that made up each map showed lots of detail and sub-themes going on inside them. I found it quite interesting the decision to use mostly aerial shots with a heightened perspective – the same effect could have been achieved by using lower viewpoints. However, perhaps because the map was from an elevated perspective he wanted to keep that consistent within the photographs inside the maps too.
I found you could quite easily lose yourself in the overall maps on display, not unlike a real city in my eyes. This was because of the intriguing sub-plots and themes of the photographs, the relationships between the photographs within each map and indeed their juxtaposition within the overall picture – the map.
I personally don’t have a ‘visual map’ (or at least not a strong one) of the city I live in within my mind. This would be even more true of other cities so it was like going on a mini journey aerially for each city shown. The horizon present in each of the maps at the top of the aerial view added to this; acting as a point of reference for each map.
Overall, each map seemed chaotic and ordered at the same time, with layers and avenues in the overall map perhaps reflecting the channels and trains of thought in Nishino’s mind. This could be seen as either putting the photographs manually how he remembered the cities or otherwise reflecting his emotions/state of mind.
What could I learn from this visit? That attention to detail is key and also that impact of size was important for the impression it made on the viewer. Also, maybe that humans tend to lean towards ‘order’, even within chaos.
Nishino, S. (2011-2014). Sohei Nishino – Works. [online] Michael Hoppen Gallery. Available at: http://www.michaelhoppengallery.com/exhibitions/6/overview/#/artworks_standalone/9366 [Accessed 20 Jan. 2015].