Sunday, May 24, 2009

A walk through H // link // The Map Collection

"A walk through H: The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist " by Peter Greenaway is a 40-minute abstracted journey film, told almost entirely through the use of a series of 92 maps, - A friend of mine showed me this short film when I was studying architecture at BAS in early nineties and it is still one of my favourites. The film is "set" entirely in the world of "H," which is represented only by Tulse Luper's maps, sprinkled with occasionally intercuts with images of birds and sunsets. The panning along the paper surfaces of the imaginary maps is intriguingly fascinating and so is the narrator’s absurd dry voice describing how he came to possess each of these maps, and what his journey is like.
At the official website, you can read Greenaway’s own idea about A Walk through H: "I've always been fascinated by maps and cartography. A map tells you where you've been, where you are, and where you're going - in a sense it's three tenses in one. It's also an amazing ideogram of information that is very useful and, perhaps most pertinently, also not at all useful. My father had recently died, and the subtitle of the film was 'The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist' - my father was one. Through his life he had amassed an extraordinary amount of information about bird study, and I was very aware that with his death - as indeed with any death - a vast amount of very personalized information had gone missing, was totally irrecoverable. The film is on the journey a soul takes at the moment of death, to whatever other place it ends up - H being either Heaven or Hell. I devised 92 maps to help this particular character get there. The whole film was divided into five sections that represented movement from a very urban landscape to a wilderness landscape, and there were references and cross-references to all sorts of systems."

Follow this link to A Walk Through H: The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist

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