Deep Mapping

"Over nine months I sought ways of apprehending this landscape as an alien or outsider in a variety of ways and media. This production-based research resulted in an artist's book, as well as a large graphic work - Stalking the San Andreas Fault."

"The large graphic, which in its full size is 8 feet high and 42 feet long, is a work towards an idea - of the deep map. It seeks ways of combining a variety of mappings, aerial surveys, photographs, journal and journey, with a single figure in the landscape and several orders of text.

Map on a Wall

Detailed descriptions of maps and their structure can be read in one of the books on which you can buy a book report at

It is the beginnings of an attempt to develop new techniques for representing places, peoples and events – techniques that are more complex and (dis)located than those associated with the landscape painting, the photograph, or the conventional map."




"There are ten things that I can say about these deep maps ...

First Deep maps will be big – the issue of resolution and detail is addressed by size.

Second Deep maps will be slow – they will naturally move at a speed of landform or weather.

Third Deep maps will be sumptuous – they will embrace a range of different media or registers in a sophisticated and multilayered orchestration.

Fourth Deep maps will only be achieved by the articulation of a variety of media – they will be genuinely multimedia, not as an aesthetic gesture or affectation, but as a practical necessity.

Fifth Deep maps will have at least three basic elements – a graphic work (large, horizontal or vertical), a time-based media component (film, video, performance), and a database or archival system that remains open and unfinished.

Sixth Deep maps will require the engagement of both the insider and outsider.

Seventh Deep maps will bring together the amateur and the professional, the artist and the scientist, the official and the unofficial, the national and the local.

Eighth Deep maps might only be possible and perhaps imaginable now – the digital processes at the heart of most modern media practices are allowing, for the first time, the easy combination of different orders of material – a new creative space.

Ninth Deep maps will not seek the authority and objectivity of conventional cartography. They will be politicized, passionate, and partisan. They will involve negotiation and contestation over who and what is represented and how. They will give rise to debate about the documentation and portrayal of people and places.

Tenth Deep maps will be unstable, fragile and temporary. They will be a conversation and not a statement." 


After Brith Gof ended in 2001, Cliff Mclucas spent time in America working on a new artistic project which he called Deep Maps. This is an excert from conversations with camera-viewer from his video diary.

Clifford MclucasThe great thing I want to try to do is to place several other layers - all kinds of things .. and I'll run out of time before I run out of ideas.

Deep maps will have to be big maps in order to get all the detail on, and that can be texts, it can be several layers of images, it can be several layers of aerial photographs or maps, it can be a whole array of things and the only way you can combine all of these things is to have big things.

One of the things I am concerned about with these kind of images is that we have to move people (out). Both landscape as a genre and maps as administrative process in some funny way remove people from the images. … everybody's died  or everybody's gone away and one of the things I am interested in is trying to put people back in … and in a very simple way by importing one person, my colleague Dorian, back into the images … we have Dorian walking along the san Andreas Fault. The San Andreas Fault runs behind him along the ground and the camera tilts down and carries on tilting down until it shows the trunk of a tree which is behind the camera on up to the top of the tree, to the top at the other end and that face there is my face, the face of the photographer.

    The first thing I want to add to it is language and there are three or four languages I can work with. The first language which must go in there is the language of the native Americans - languages that were spoken along the length of the line … so what I'm trying to do is to work out ways in which I can take words and, as it were, write them into the map, not placed on top but actually implicated into the images that are already there.

    The final language which will be overlaid is the language which Dorian uses, which is the Welsh language, which I also speak, and it's coming from a journal which I asked him to write … a journal of the San Andreas Fault.


The following passage was taken from "DEEP MAPPING:" A brief Introduction by Iain Biggs.

Mapping Spectral Traces  The concerns of deep mapping in its visual and performing arts manifestations are best indicated by Clifford McLucas’ text There are ten things that I can say about these deep maps. For McLucas deep maps appear in the interaction between three basic elements: graphic or freestanding visual work; a time-based component—film, video, performance, or music; and a database or archival system that remains open and unfinished. He sees the process of deep mapping as challenging our presupposition that knowledge is the specialist domain of professional experts and wants it to bring together “the amateur and the professional, the artist and the scientist, the official and the unofficial, the national and the local.” McLucas also argues that deep maps should be a “politicized, passionate, and partisan” evocation of a site, involving “negotiation and contestation over who and what is represented and how.” Deep mappings should give rise to “debate about the documentation and portrayal of people and places” and be unstable, fragile, and temporary—conversations not statements. Mapping Spectral Traces 2010.

images held in the national Library of Wales collection

1. Exhibition in corridor outside Clifford's office at Stanford University, California

2. Clifford in Llanberis North Wales

3. Image and text taken from Dr Iain Biggs text on ' Deep mapping'

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