Introduction

Our two projects evolved as we figured out both the possibilities and limitations of our joint visions. The primary objective from the beginning, however, was three-fold. First, we were interested in rethinking both Ulysses and the Exhibit’s engagement with time and space and the possibility of representing this engagement through geotemporal distortion. Second, we wanted to re-present analogue, archival material through digital media in order to inspire new ways of thinking about the text in terms of time and space. We also wanted to consider the possibilities inherent in the transformation of the analogue to the digital and back.

Google Earth Map

In order to meet our initial objectives, we collaborated on two projects. The first project takes objects from the English 560 acquisition list and maps the objects, using Google Earth and three layered archival maps of Dublin, according to their location in Dublin as specified within the text. The three archival maps of Dublin come from the University of Victoria’s Special Collections and include a map of Dublin from 1100-1550, 1876, and 1925.

This portion of the project rethinks a linear progression of both space and time by situating Ulysses in a past and present Dublin. For the first segment, three historical maps of Dublin from the UVic Library’s Special collection, including a map of Dublin during the Anglo-Norman invasion that situates Ulysses’ Dublin in a long colonial history, an 1876 map, and a 1925 map that represents Dublin around the time of Ulysses’ publication, are layered over one another to give a sense of the novel’s engagement with the long, colonial history of Ireland.

The project also maps objects in the exhibit that represent objects locatable in Ulysses’ Dublin. By locating the exhibit objects on a digital map, we hope to re-situate the dislocated objects in their geotemporal location as suggested by the novel. The map also acknowledges some of the histories the objects carry with them into the text. For example, the Army Recruitment Poster carries with it a history of British conscription of the Irish from the 18th century on (Denman 208). While the link between the colonial history of Ireland and the poster is not foregrounded in the text and may not be foregrounded in the physical exhibit space, the history is never the less present. The Google Earth map allows us not only to repatriate the object to its place in Dublin, at least in a digital sense, it provides a forum for us to unite the object with its histories and the Long Now these object engage.

Rationale for the Maps

The map of Dublin from 1100-1550 spans the period of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. When considering the Long Now of Ulysses we wanted to pay specific attention to the long, colonial history of the area with the hope that some of the objects might be able to reach back to that early history of colonization. The 1876 and the 1925 maps were the two maps that most closely corresponded to the day Ulysses takes place, June 16, 1904, and the publication date of the first volume edition in 1922. The final layer of the map is the 2013 Google Earth map of Dublin. Locating the objects on the first two archival maps asks the viewer to contemplate the geographically specific histories the objects intentionally or unintentionally carry into Ulysses. The 1925 map asks the exhibit viewer to consider the context of these objects in the contemporary context of early readers of the 1922  edition. By retaining the 2013 map of Dublin, the project also asks viewers to consider their own understanding of these objects in the Exhibit’s present and the ways in which our current understanding of these objects influences the way we read these objects in the text.

Tactile 3D Map

While the first map asks readers of Ulysses and exhibit attendees to consider, through geotemporal distortion, the way the objects in the text carry with them ever present and transforming histories, the tactile 3D map asks exhibit attendees to consider a reader’s geotemporal experience of Ulysses. As the many mapping projects based on Ulysses suggest, Joyce’s text is highly mappable and fully immersed in the idea that cartography is a way of knowing (Hegglund 164). The mapping projects pointed to in the following sections use maps as a way of understanding Ulysses,  its characters and Dublin. Our 3D map differs from those projects by asking how can we use mapping to understand  a reader’s experience of the text as opposed to characters’ experience of time and place in the narrative. Our project asks the following questions: Can we locate a reading experience? Can we assign a temporal value to a reading experience? Can we trace and can we feel the process of reading?

As is outlined in the workflow, we chose to use word count as a way to measure the “time” a hypothetical reader would spend in a given location in Ulysses’ Dublin. This, of course, provides a flawed sense of “temporality” given that word length, concept complexity, and as one study suggest, even head tilt (Firth 52), affect the rates at which one reads. We chose to use word count as a fixed measure with the awareness that our methods would only provide one possible representation of the experience of reading Ulysses.

This map uses 3D modelling software to represent the reading experience of Ulysses onto the University of Victoria’s archival, 1925 map of Dublin, the same map used in the first component of the project. We chose the 1925 map of Dublin for two reasons. First, it was the map that most closely corresponded to the publication date of the first volume edition of Ulysses. Second, it was also the most detailed archival map of Dublin in the University of Victoria’s Special Collections archive.

Why use archival material?

One of the questions we were concerned with throughout the course was “what can we learn through the remediation of analogue, archival materials through digital manipulation?” Another, related question was “how can we make this process that links the physical archive with digital methods meaningful?” In part, we attempted to address these questions by using digital methods to bring the material out of the archive and into the public sphere of the exhibit. We also attempted to make the archival material new by using the material in our methods of distortion. For example, as opposed to simply photocopying the map, we made a 3D model that would allow people to feel the streets of Dublin in order to engage a new way of knowing the space of Dublin. We added another temporal and spatial layer to the map by using the archival image to locate the text and to raise areas on the map in proportion to the word count (as a measure of the “time” a reader would spend) in the region.

Critical Engagement of the Project with Other Works

Michael Seidel begins his study of Ulysses and geography by noting Kant’s observation that “the human mind appeals to geography for spatial orientation as readily as it appeals to history for temporal orientation” (ix Seidel). This project attempts to unite both the temporal and the geospatial in order to rethink Ulysses in relation to the space of Dublin, the history of Dublin and the objects in the Exhibit, as well as the reader of Ulysses. In this section, I will explore how “Dislocating Ulysses” can be understood through the tri-focal lens of digital humanities scholarship, cartographical and non-digital literary scholarship of Ulysses.

Ulysses from a Distance

Two primary influences of this project, in terms of digital humanities scholarship, are Franco Moretti’s Graphs, Maps, Trees and Galey and Ruecker’s “How a Prototype Argues.” Moretti focuses on the ways distant reading practices can disrupt our ways of understanding texts and hence come to new ways of exploring texts. This form of literary analysis that moves beyond the close reading practices of New Criticism is not, as Moretti points out “an obstacle, but a specific form of knowledge” (Moretti 1). Moretti describes distant reading as a critical practice “in which the reality of the text undergoes a process of deliberate reduction and abstraction” (1). While Moretti’s work focuses on large corpuses of texts, we are employing his notion of “deliberate reduction and abstraction” of the text through our tactile map of Ulysses in order to come to a specific, if not new way considering the text. Engaging with traditional, literary criticisms that highlight the quotidian aspects of Ulysses, the importance of time, and importance of space in the novel, Alex and I attempted to rethink the way the text could be represented in an exhibit space.

A Tradition of Mapping

In terms of cartographical criticism, this project builds upon a long tradition of scholars who, as Jon Hegglund notes, “have been all too eager to plot Ulysses onto a map of Dublin” (165).  The history of the cartography of Ulysses is readily accessibly online in analogue formats such as Seidel’s analysis of Joyce’s mapping of the Odyssey onto Ulysses’ Dublin to digital formats ranging from Visit Dublin’s printable PDF titled “Ulysses Map of County Dublin,” which charts Bloom’s journey throughout his day to Boston College’s “Walking Ulysses,” an interactive map that allows users to trace the paths of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom. The “Dislocating Ulysses” project, through its two components intends, not to duplicate such expert work on cartographical representations of Ulysses’ “‘real-world’ physical space” (Hegglund 164), but rather intends to rethink alternate ways in which the novel and by proxy the Long Now of Ulysses Exhibit can and do engage with time and space.

A Tradition of Traditional Literary Criticism

At the same time the project is rooted in digital humanities works and methodologies, it is also rooted in the literary criticism of scholars such as William Schutte, Jon Hegglund and Declan Kiberd. In his study of cartographical rhetoric in Ulysses, Hegglund makes a point that the very act of mapping within the text is seen as a way of knowing. He writes, “Joyce seems to have been aware of the particular discursive power of the cartography within a larger economy of knowledge, as the relationship between the topographical precision of Ulysses and the rhetoric of cartography is more than coincidental” (Hegglund 164). The two components of the project engage in the Joycean tradition of knowing through mapping by disrupting traditional mapping strategies by 1) establishing a link between the displaced exhibit objects and their place in Ulysses Dublin, 2) suggesting that the objects carry with them histories that extend beyond the text, 3) suggesting that reading experiences can be mapped, visualized, and felt, and 4) suggesting that digital and physical models in fact, as Ruecker argues, make arguments in and of themselves.

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