Mapping: Installation Geography

A core conceit of my project Through Various Hazards has been the idea that the physical site and the architectural form of Fort Humboldt are iconic representatives for the larger historical questions I’m asking and the historical dynamics I’m pointing to.  As I was visiting sites in Eureka, trying to decide where and how I wanted to install the series of expanded dioramas, I was struck by the potential of merging the layout of the fort itself and the geography of the city.

 Map of Eureka, CA

Map of Eureka, CA

 1861 Map of the Fort Humboldt grounds.

1861 Map of the Fort Humboldt grounds.

I took the fort layout into Photoshop and overlaid it onto the city.

Based on the location of the original fort buildings, I determined sites for placing markers/clues about the project and also the installations themselves.

 Proposed placement of installations (large icons) and markers (small icons)

Proposed placement of installations (large icons) and markers (small icons)

I felt this was a successful prototype of the layout, and discussions at the Quick & Dirty Thesis Show allowed me to develop a second version that I think is much stronger.

The markers have been removed (no need for them to be represented here).  The installation sites have been shifted and, while they still correspond to a metonym of the fort layout in terms of geography, they now also reflect it figuratively as well.

Starting from North to South, West to East:

  • Woodley Island, Duluwat Historical Marker (Violence, Memorial)
  • Civic Center: City Council Building, Superior Court, Times Standard newspaper (Politics & Media)
  • Wabash Ave, entryway to the city  (Everyday life)
  • Samoa Peninsula, former reservation site for overflow prisoners from Fort Humboldt
  • Fort Humboldt
  • Mouth of the Elk River + Hikshari’ Trail (Indigenous life, Constant flux)
  • (Ulysses S.) Grant Elementary School (Education/Ignorance)

My vision is to have this map as a physical object and guide in the style of the many years of Fort Humboldt Brochures/Pamphlets, which I will distribute to coffee shops, the library, etc.  It will also be the centerpiece of the project website (which Sam Lavigne reminded me–smart–needs to be mobile-first).  This will be a tool for seeing how each installation is part of a larger endeavor, and navigating between the distributed sites.