The cabin

You know you’ve become a ship when you feel the flow under your footsteps, when you realize that your world is following a rolling motion, and when through its windows you see the horizon line move.

Otherwise, you’re a stranded construction.

A ship consists of a structure with cabins, corridors and decks, and although it does not appear on the plans, in its design there is a quiet, intimate and imperious need to sail.

The place where I decide the courses is spacious: it occupies much of the ship. Some might find it overwhelming, loaded with objects, books, pencils, inks, folders, and notebooks with notes, sketches, or texts half-written.

It’s a messy place for those who don’t know where to find things. Maps, routes and destinations are being stacked there.

On a legacy desk I choose pieces forgotten by more than a generation: pens, magnifying glasses, squares, scissors and bars, cockades and strange relics that could be appreciated by antiques.

I don’t know the cause, but I identify myself with those little objects where time left a patina or wear and tear that I find of endearing beauty. I hold them in my hand, I contemplate them, and they always tell me a new story that inspires me wishing to set sail into the past.

But the boat is here, and now I’m in my cabin.

I don’t have a fixed time to get in or out of it. My transit through its surfaces, shelves and drawers is constant and unpredictable, driven by going to meet an object, or to sketch a project, or to review, magnifying glass by, the archived negatives that I will perhaps print in the coming days.

I take my naps in the cabin. There’s a simple bed that sometimes becomes a muse that hugs me. When I wake up, I usually invent or discover a new itinerary.

Nights happen differently: often the swell causes insomnia. These night storms find ears ready to echo the thunder, and then, even in the total darkness of the room, scribble written or drawn in a notebook by the bed are, the next morning, proofs that I survived the shipwreck. If I’m lucky, a new course is set. From then on, it’s a matter of drawing sketches of the map and to go looking for resources and a crew of ideas to accompany me on the journey.

About “Cartographies of an in-land sailor”

This ship has been sailing for more than three decades and today, (April 2020), it’s the first time that this solitaire and absentminded sailor decided to make records, some retrospective and some recent ones.

Chaotic, absurd tales from here, there, nowhere… And also brief descriptions of his imaginary sailings.

Just think of the logbook written by the captain of the Flying Dutchman: ghostly notes, vanishing details, words and pictures to be read and seen by wandering spirits, or perhaps by… you?

Welcome aboard!

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The dark cabin

January 20th, 2021|0 Comments

Near the bow is the main cabin, where imagination flies at the pace of the wind, or simply sings with the waves of the port. At the stern is a secondcabin, which I call The Dark Cabin. The result of each voyage is reflected there. Maps and geographic charts, whether real or fictional, see the light in a space where light is paradoxically scarce. I don't visit that space every day. Doing so involves staying more than half the day working in reddishdarkness: the materials used there require that kind of lighting. The days designated for such work are premeditated and scheduled. As I stay in this cabin, the ship is adrift. Hours pass and at the end of the day one or more maps are finished to be shown to those people who know about my travelsand wait in a hurry in some port. To them I dedicate these rectangles of paper that will one day be as faded as my hair: there is no map or navy thatresists the onslaught of the years. The dark cabin also officiates as a Machine Room. My ship's devices are electrical and mechanical. There is no technological sophistication. Just theessentials to get to the destination: just some instruments that direct the light, and some substances that allow me to draw maps. The enlargers, radiating light from their lenses, look like headlights in the dark that, in their work of printing, guide me towards the final destination: the finished photographic chart. For this humble navigator, everything is unified there: at that moment the map and the territory are the same thing, just as the shipand the sailor are identical.