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Map of ignorance (2012)

Public commission for Sogn og Fjordane University College (2012).

HiSF Art
Språkkart App
Language map Language map

My work for the new building of the university college in Sogndal is both a research project in itself, and a meditation on research or scientific exploration in general.


Individualized maps of knowledge (if they exist), will have blank spots. And if these spots were visualized, it would be as Maps of Ignorance. They could appear in many shapes, this project present one possibility.


I have explored my personal ignorance through language. I collected words I didn’t know the meaning of, phrases or conceps that had to be looked up in Wikipedia. I read the articles, filled the holes, but the texts usually featured more unfamiliar words. They had to be looked up, and so it went…

Each initial word became a patriarch, generating a circular linquistic family tree. 5 families were allowed to grow until they connected with one another (after 3-6 generations). At this point I stopped the search, leaving the outer generation unexplained. The research could have been continued forever, since each generation of unexplained words grew larger than the previous one.




The main physical manifestation of the map is located in the stairway of the new university building. It was made as an inverted relief by "erasing" holes in the walls perforated plaster plates. The method is in my opinion quite fitting for a project which in itself is an attempt to fill holes, - of knowledge. Each filled hole represent a syllable in an unknown phrase, so the map has been simplified to a clean minimalist piece, - a binary code.


The wall piece is supplemented with an app for Android phones, based on original handdrawn language networks. It makes it possible to zoom in on different parts of the wall and decipher the pattern. Besides this didactic function, the app has it’s own visual quality. Finally the same drawn network is presented as a wall map in the schools library.


The method used for the Map of Ignorance was initially developed for the drawing Directive network from 2011.