Atlas of a Terra Incognita

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Collage, Colour, Students, Texture

Atlas of a Terra Incognita

Fabrizia Mattiello






Who influences you graphically?

During my years at university i had the chance to discover, see and learn from different artists that were working in various field; going from Architect, Photographers, Painters, Designers, Writers, Musicians. Each one of them somehow left me a piece of their philosophy and identity. That’s why in my thesis there are many of all of them that helped me to come out with a new image that should be mine.

For instance my final Manifesto in a way takes the Hieronymus Bosch‘s painting “Garden of earthly delights”, taking the same idea of not having a top-view Masterplan but a prospective vision, with tridimensional elements and give it a depth.

Influences also come from some Beniamino Servino works “Leftovers with supports” where he used the element of Nature that interact with the Architectural one creating a final image where both of them become a unique body even if they looks in contrast.


What defined the graphic language for this project?

The idea was simple enough. I would borrow one language, the language of ancient Cartography, Maps and use them also as final images to describe something it was never intended to describe. His strategy possessed an element theorists have referred to as Defamiliarization: taking something so familiar that people have long ago stopped paying attention and bringing to it a strangeness or foreignness that makes them take notice again.

It is the very thing you experience when travelling to a foreign country: everything you see is familiar by kind, but it all is utterly dumfounding. Such experiences rekindle your interests, reinvigorate your senses such that they tingle with anticipation and grasp at every jot and tittle.

So Maps are in a very real way a work of art and knowledge. But its imprecision allows the elements of the language to allude to other qualities beyond the visual ones that artists seem to focus on; qualities like feelings, stories, and the passage of time. It may evoke, but cannot describe.


What defined the format of the images on paper? Is this a book?

Yes! My thesis has been developed also with a final big book [50×70] that reproduce the ancient Atlas of the World but in my case of an unknown land; a Terra Incognita, that because of its being undefined, suspended it’s actually free from any constrictions or borders.

In my book i wanted to represent this land using a sense of “delicate touch”; using drawings, collages and Diagrams. They do not represent just the already existing objects or systems but anticipate a new organization and specify yet to be realized relationship. They are not simply a reduction from existing order; their abstraction is “instrumental”, not an end itself.

They work as “abstract” machines and do not always resemble what they produce because of its unpredictability.



How did you position the text on paper- was this spacing intended for and if so what was the purpose? Could you have used other means to put emphasis on specific words?

The Graphic, the overall Aesthetic of the book is part itself of the project. They way has been written and represent was for me an integral aspect of the project. This idea was very important for me since the beginning and so starting from the Cover I took care of every single detail; font, size and colour of words, the space between them according to the function and the value they have it.

Maybe I could’ve used other way to emphasis them but I’ve found it the right one to make them fitting with my project and the concept of the ancient atlas. Being elegant and fine, with a touch of Femininity since I imagine and treat the earth as a beautiful Woman.

So at the end even if there are many other type of graphical depiction that could’ve been used the one i’ve chosen came up naturally and is correctly “framing” my thesis with a fluent and harmonic reading.

What is the effect and purpose of layering? How does it relate back to the thesis?

The concept of layering is for me important because i’ve recognized in each element of this area a strong identity. Is like a human body where each layer has an important use and purpose but that can be visible to us just if we explode it. At that time we would se bones, organs, the circulation system, the skin and so one. Each one of them could work independently but at the same time it would become useless and fragile without the other. So this land; we have a humid undergound because of the sea, the soil, the vegetation with all its biological ecosystem and the abandoned industrial architectures. Only by recognizing and enhancing each of them they can collaborate to create a final homogeneous world.

To be shared and supported this “Monument” has to be recognized as their own. Must be represented in a form generated from their linguistic repertoire. Must show proud its genesis, but also take an hypertrophic dilated boundless dimension. But still recognizable.

A liberating anamòrphosis, visionary.

Only then the monument generates astonishment. A wonder for the Reformation.

A wonder who will prepare a new balance, a legitimizing amazement.



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