THIS IS HOW THE EARTH MUST SEE ITSELF: A walk with natural features - Tamsin Green
Published in May 2021
Handmade edition of 58 books, signed and numbered by the artist
5 limited edition giclee print inserts on recycled paper 7.5x5"
116 pp, 51 images, 240x130mm
Paperback cover, coptic hand binding
The book is housed inside a handmade phase-box
Edition 21-58: Price includes Postage & Packaging
The Ordnance Survey’s (OS) mapping of Great Britain in the late eighteenth century was a landmark in human attempts to know the land. Seeking defence against a feared French invasion, the priority was to survey the South Coast of England, and anything that could be hidden behind. Walking up to 40 miles a day, the field surveyors were tasked with categorising the landscape they passed through according to a list of predefined rules.
From the earliest map sheets, the ‘rock features’ were treated as ornament. Formations observed on the surface of the earth are not simply decorative surface features but represent the intersection of the earth’s surface with the body of the earth. The processes of weathering and erosion, coupled with the human hand, shape the visibility of rocks on the surface and can move the rocks from one category to another.
Using a combination of archival material, open source data and photographs, the project follows these rock features as a guide. Following in the footsteps of the surveyor she oscillates between seeking to know and name the land, and melting into aimless wandering, loosing sense of time and scale. The process of ordering the images into these pre-defined categories throws up questions as pebbles become boulders, flowing water becomes outcrop. As with all classification systems, the rules are subjective, leading to their own telling of the story.
The book references the physical properties of the OS map; it’s format, tactility, and folding.
The Victoria & Albert Museum - Special Collections, National Art Library
The British Library
FORMAT21: Presents, Derby (2021)
Photofusion: SALON/21, London (2021)
Glover Rayner Environmental Prize - Shortlist (2021)
Photofusion Select/21 Award + SALON/21 Commendation (2021)
“Tamsin Green’s work uses graphic representations of landscape to act as a pathway into how we map the world, how we see the world, and how we feel the world. It’s work where the distant representation of an Ordnance Survey map is transmitted into the feel of the earth, the sand, the grit beneath our feet.”
Colin Pantall, Writer, Photographer and Lecturer
"This is How the Earth Must See Itself … the title of Tamsin Green’s book suggests a challenge to the idea of the modern map – a disruption of its logic and an unseating of the subject as a sovereign observer, gazing at the land laid out before them. This is a book about landscape, but it’s not about a particular place. It’s about the symbols and systems that we impose upon space in order to create an idea of landscape. It’s about the physical processes that shape the land, and the discourses – visual, social, scientific, historical – that shape our experience of it. It’s about the work that we do in order to know the land, and to find ourselves in relation to the often formless reality on the ground."
Eugenie Skinkle, C4 Journal
"Tamsin Green's book focuses on exploring the dissonance between categorised space and emotional experience of the landscape, but it also has a particular resonance with the contraction of boundaries we are experiencing due to the Covid 19 pandemic and Brexit. As the South Coast is the edge of our contact with the nearest continent a close interrogation of it feels very timely."
Jennifer Reeves, National Art Library, Victoria & Albert Museum
"The complex combination of illustrations based on ordnance survey maps/archival material along with Tamsin's evocative black and white landscapes and the highly considered design/production of the book incites curiosity and wonder in equal measure. I really admire the way Tamsin engages with representations of landscape that are knowingly subjective yet evoke a sense of universality by dealing with broader questions of mapping, classification and our entangled and complex relationship to our natural surroundings."
Dafna Talmor, Artist and Lecturer
“Tamsin Green’s attention to detail and ability to weave beautiful and sensitive imagery into the most wonderfully engineered publication so that they become one, is extraordinary. As a fellow artist I also admire the tactile methods used to convey the deeper narrative of her practice – demanding you pick this book up and never ever let go of it!”
Steve Macleod, Photographer and Director of Metro Imaging