(5) Xandra Connelley – A quote by Ptolemy written in maritime flags (Australia)
About this Artwork
My inspiration came from the ancient maps of Ptolemy and I responded by writing one of his quotes in maritime flags. I chose this particular quote to illustrate Ptolemy’s legacy as an astronomer and subsequently chose the maritime flags as a way to communicate a universal language of travel.
Claudius Ptolemy as a geographer, mathematician and astronomer in Egypt during the 2nd Century CE was renowned for many things. Notably, for his work in astronomy and mapping the skies in which case he applied mathematical methods to astronomical problems. At the same time, as a cartographer he devised a system of lines of latitude and longitude and plotted around 10,000 locations.
However, there are many significant quotes from Ptolemy and for my artwork the following resonated : “I know that I am mortal by nature and ephemeral but when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies I no longer touch the earth with my feet. I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia” Ptolemy.
To work out the quote you read the flags top to bottom, starting from the top left-hand corner.
Through my art practice, the objective for the viewer is to translate or decode patterns from their concealed meaning into something comprehensive and full of significance. Each piece draws from ancient symbols or quotes to intrigue the audience and evolves by the act of discovery. Once the artwork reveals its underlying source this then encompasses additional layers and meanings to interact with the viewer.
For a long time it has been known, solving puzzles or riddles, enhances our ability to access hidden information in our brain and apply it to knowledge stored in our memory. As a result, once we find the answer to a solution it can be a kind of clairvoyance to possibly provoke a transcendent reaction.
As humans we connect through communication and often use ancient universal signs and symbols that transverse language barriers. Accordingly, my intention is through deciphering this ubiquitous information the audience will have an inherent connection to my artworks.
Link to Xandra’s Art Aviso profile HERE
Xandra was supplied the following page from Newnes’ Pictorial Knowledge Encyclopedia:
The first Steps in Geography
Geographical Terms- plate 4