Maps Part 1 Melbourne Maps Part 2 København

Typus Orbis Terrarum by Abraham Ortelius (thumnail)

we pass by narration
we pass by translation

we pass amid escape
we pass amid passages and
we pass digressions
we pass through accumulation, sifting

we pass such legends, odes and charts,
we pass atlases as arguments as kept for recollection
we pass leaving

we pass following
we pass further

we pass in the shifting light
we pass now
we pass on a byroad, recognising
we pass a cemetery—here

we pass the layering moss …

Without doubt Maps was the most ambitious of the site-specific projects brought to fruition by Aphids during the company’s first fifteen years; it was realised in collaboration with sister company Kokon. In meticulous detail Maps explored conceptual and practical correspondences between cartography, musical notation and scripts for performance. Sustained dialogue between the artists—based in Europe, Japan and Australia—produced a suite of scenographic designs and installations; handwritten scores (both solo and ensemble works); texts, and a handprocessed film. Maps audiences were itinerant, led on a counter-intuitive route through grand, historic interiors: Part 1 was staged in the North Melbourne Town Hall, Part 2 in a former Freemason’s temple in Copenhagen, both buildings selectively transformed by theatrical illusion.

Writing for Maps began with ‘Surveys of routes miss what was’, a poem in nine parts. The title quotes from Michel de Certeau’s essay ‘Walking in the City’, and the text traces a pathway to introspection using techniques of repetition and accumulation. It was taken up by Louise Curham as a script for her film; the film, in turn, served as a moving musical score which was accompanied also by live recitation. In performance, ‘The Lecture Piece’ concentrated in a different way on the musicality of formal speech, emphasising the spatialising rhetoric of argument, while discussing the history of cartography in western Europe.

Creative Team

  • Composers Juliana Hodkinson & David Young
  • Scenographer Louise Beck
  • Writer & Lecturer Cynthia Troup
  • Filmmaker Louise Curham
  • Violoncello Caerwen Martin
  • Recorders Natasha Anderson
  • Violin Yasutaka Hemmi
  • Soprano (Melbourne) Helle Thun
  • Percussion (Melbourne) Vanessa Tomlinson
  • Percussion (Copenhagen) Henrik Larsen
  • Pianoforte (Copenhagen) Katrine Gislinge

Film script published by Aphids, 2000.

Maps audio documentation published by Aphids and Kokon, 2003.

Cynthia Troup, Amanda Johnson: The Lecture, Maps Part 1 Melbourne (photo Yatzek)
Cynthia Troup, Amanda Johnson: The Lecture, Maps Part 1 Melbourne (photo Yatzek)

Press & Reviews

Was it the most aesthetically refined building tour in history? … The most fastidiously upmarket echo of Cagean music cartography?
The Age
Form takes precedence over content and one listens to the lecture as if it were a piece of music.
Kristeligt Dagblad
… It felt possible that something magical was going on behind every closed door.
Matthias Schack-Arnott, Sonorities of Site

Performance History

17 March: (Maps The Soundtrack) ABC Classic FM 105.9 radio broadcast in the program New Music Up Late; read more
March: (Maps The Soundtrack) Danmarks Radio FM 90.8 radio broadcast in the program Lyt til Nyt
23–26 October: (Maps Part 2) Copenhagen, Musikvidenkabeligt Institut
29 November–2 December: (Maps Part 1) Melbourne, North Melbourne Town Hall
Maps Portable Ticking Installation score by Juliana Hodkinson, extract
Maps Portable Ticking Installation score by Juliana Hodkinson, extract

Further Reading

Maps Part 1 program, North Melbourne Town Hall (2000); read here

Haagensen, Kirsten, ‘Den musiske stavblender’, on Maps Part 2, Universitetsavisen,
17 (2002), p. 9

Hvidt, Eva, ‘Institut iscenesat’ [review, Maps Part 2], Kristeligt Dagblad, 25 October 2002; read here an unpublished translation by Jens Hesselager, 2002

Pressing, Jeff, ‘Tracks Vibes and Views’ [review, Maps Part 1], The Age, 1 December 2000;
read here

Troup, Cynthia, editor and Introduction, Sonorities of Site: Aphids, Architecture and New Music 1998–2010, designed by Paul Ducco and Jacob Thompson (Melbourne: Aphids, 2012), passim

The Film Piece, Maps Part 1 Melbourne (photo Yatzek)
The Film Piece, Maps Part 1 Melbourne (photo Yatzek)