Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


School of Art, Design and Art History

Archival Department Name

School of Art and Art History


Corinne Diop

Leslie Bellavance

Ken Szmagaj


A monograph for the MFA Thesis Exhibition for Holly George, exhibited in Sawhill Gallery in Duke Hall April 5, 2010 - April 10, 2010. The title of the exhibition, Incognesia, is indicative of the artist's process of mapmaking. It is a fusion of other words, an invention based on fact but nevertheless on the verge of fantasy. Like each word in Lewis Caroll's poem, "Jabberwocky," the title calls multiple meanings to mind. It utilizes the Latin incognitae, meaning "unknown," but also references its later cartographic usage of "undiscovered" lands. While the suffix, -nesia, links to a series of islands such as Indonesia, Micronesia, etc. and is derived from the literal Greek meaning of "the land that swims in the sea," it also suggests the word "amnesia." More than just unknown, amnesia indicates a consistent state of not knowing, or an inability to know. In addition, the word Incognesia may bring to mind anesthesia, a loss of sensory awareness, thereby flagging psychology's idea of aesthetic apprehension, or a state of not knowing through the senses. The creation of these artist maps evokes imaginary worlds that demand a new framework -- one that is fluid, anarchic, and mythical in its un-Cartesian irrationality. The maps are first situated in relation to the organic nature of the figure and the ephemeral state of fluidity. Second, they visualize an anarchic blur of space in response to the modern expectation of Cartesian logic, again referring to movement, fluidity, and now the haziness of the images. The maps are then positioned in a place of placelessness, implying a utopian space. Finally, they reference another imaginary space, the heterotopia, as an incomprehensible "other" to our mental image of the world.