Guest blogpost: Finding voices and re-shaping history

Artist Edwina Fitzpatrick spoke alongside historical geographer and researcher Lowri Jones at the Travellers’ Tails seminar Finding Voices and Re-Shaping History on 20 November 2014, here she writes about the seminar:

It was great to see how our two presentations intersected – we shared a concern about hidden histories and lost voices – about whose voices are in the ‘foreground’ of historical debate and what/who has been relegated to the ‘back seat’.  We also both considered the processes and logistics of exploration and colonialism.

My presentation explored how historical and current concerns intersect, particularly through navigation, coastlines and climate change. I discussed the 1502 Cantino World Chart in relation to terra incognita (unknown land). This maritime navigation map only represented coastlines, creating extravagant fictions in the unvisited hinterlands of entire continents.

Arguably today, our only remaining terra incognitas are the polar icecaps, which are still subject to the colonial impulses of countries looking for oil, minerals and land rights. With the melting icecaps sea levels are rising, so we have an inverse situation to the Cantino Chart in that whilst we are well informed about each continent’s hinterlands, our coastlines are becoming  increasingly uncertain.

Guest blogpost by artist Edwina Fitzpatrick

The next seminar in the Travellers’ Tails seminar series Empire and the Museum is on 4 December 2014 6pm