arrows for lost souls

While watching rehearsal Thursday I started sketching arrows–arrows that light up with chasing light bulbs and call lots of attention to themselves; arrows that point in various directions; arrows that can be manipulated by characters; and… well, that don’t actually carry meaning.  Lots of flash and very little actual help for lost souls looking for their way.  I have been thinking of them as “fallible flags,” a concept Tom Garrity expounded upon during his talk “TRUTH = MATH = BEAUTY” last Tuesday for the Williamsthinking video series.  Interesting concept: You’re doing your research and you happen upon something that SEEMS so significant that it must mean something–and yet, it doesn’t.  Not every arrow you happen upon, actually points you in a meaningful direction.

We’re talking about using roving lighting booms that will be scenic elements and also practical lighting fixtures; perhaps they have arrows attached.  Perhaps they have large colored light bulbs on top (like a ghost light) that can make the rovers function like pins on a map as they roll about the stage space.  Perhaps there are arrows that can be used as hand props.  Perhaps there are arrows that fly in from above or roll on from the wings, as in… “YOU ARE HERE!” (Arrow points straight down at stage floor.)

Sketches, and pics of a full scale model:

Imagine the prototype is a fun color other than flat black, and that the light bulbs are illuminated and able to chase and blink.





Borges, “Of Exactitude in Science”

Of Exactitude in Science

…In that Empire, the craft of Cartography attained such Perfection that the Map of a Single province covered the space of an entire City, and the Map of the Empire itself an entire Province. In the course of Time, these Extensive maps were found somehow wanting, and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point for point. Less attentive to the Study of Cartography, succeeding Generations came to judge a map of such Magnitude cumbersome, and, not without Irreverence, they abandoned it to the Rigours of sun and Rain. In the western Deserts, tattered Fragments of the Map are still to be found, Sheltering an occasional Beast or beggar; in the whole Nation, no other relic is left of the Discipline of Geography.

—From Travels of Praiseworthy Men (1658) by J. A. Suarez Miranda

The piece was written by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares. English translation quoted from J. L. Borges, A Universal History of Infamy, Penguin Books, London, 1975.

From Wikipedia:

The story elaborates on a concept in Lewis Carroll‘s Sylvie and Bruno Concluded: a fictional map that had “the scale of a mile to the mile.” One of Carroll’s characters notes some practical difficulties with this map and states that “we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.”