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The project proved unexpected in several ways. It provided unexpected results. Not having read the novel prior to the project, I expected a larger portion of Dublin to be represented in the text. I certainly did not expect that the disparity in word count per location would be as significant as it appears on the map. While the basic argument of the map– that the readers experience the geotemporality of the novel differently from Bloom or Dedalus– is not surprising, the vast tracts of Dublin the reader does not experience or experiences in passing was surprising to me.

I was also surprised by how many of the acquisition items for the Exhibit were not directly from the text. While this discovery was challenging for the development of the map, I found it exciting for the Exhibit itself. In part, it means that the objective to engage Ulysses’ Long Now, through the exhibition of anachronistically related objects, had been met. The Exhibit reveals the ways in which the text lives on both intentionally and unintentionally  over a hundred years after the narrative takes place. For the objects that could be mapped, I was frequently surprised by their histories within Dublin. Items as seemingly innocuous as pennies are tied to a fraught, colonial history. Even the regulation of pornography in Ireland can be linked back to the “Obscene Publications Act of 1857” ratified by the English parliament and applied to Ireland until Ireland followed their independence with the creation of their own “Censorship of Publications Act” in 1929.

On the practical side, locating the objects in Dublin and in Ulysses was a little more difficult than I had imagined. This was particularly the case with objects that might appear in more than one point in the text e.g. the curling iron, keys, and pennies. Also, a good portion of the objects were locatable in Bloom’s house. While the bulk of the text is spent out and about in Dublin, significant passages occur in Bloom’s domestic sphere suggesting that while the city of Dublin is important, the physically smaller sphere of the domestic is equally significant, though perhaps in different ways.

The breadth and limitations of mapping tools also surprised me. As seen in the workflow chart below, we tested several mapping tools, including Hypercities and Neatline before returning to Google Earth.

Dislocating Ulysses

Neatline would have been the ideal interface through which to show the historical contexts of the exhibit objects within their place in Dublin. We could have located an object in an interface that would allow us to show the objects place in time and space. It would have allowed us to show, more deftly, the acquisition items that were not locatable within Dublin and their relationships to the text more deftly.  However, hosting a Neatline exhibit proved difficult for our timeline and experience sets.

What did not surprise me was the time it took to decide which items to map, locate text in Dublin, and play around with the different interfaces to see what did and did not work. I am indebted to Alex for taking the time to render the map in Mudbox.

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