By Jesse Jack
Duquesne University (English PhD)
<Use the arrows to move through the StoryMap (or view in full screen)>
In alliance with the goals of the larger en dehors garde project, my StoryMap attempts to turn outward from the center of the avant garde by discussing not only the life and works of Mina Loy, but also those elements of her life that remain marginal in avant-garde discourses that privilege literary production and criticism over other valuable and equally important forms of labor (like emotional and familial labor) and production. This project aspires to fill those discursive gaps by juxtaposing visual, verbal, and geographic transits to create a story that is a map and a map that is a story. Like the larger website, this project is inspired by Loy’s fascination with Baedeker maps and attempts to map spaces, lives, arts, and times in an effort to encourage alternatives methods of knowledge transmission and meaning making.
To that end, this project asks: how can digital humanities be used to relay an assemblage of experiences of a single life in such a way that it feels as if a viewer is visually, emotionally, temporally, and spatially walking alongside the artist herself?
When accessing the StoryMap, viewers are able to travel alongside Loy from her birth in London of 1882 to her death in Aspen, Colorado, 1966. Through design, I hope to encourage viewers to linger in the specific places and time periods in which Loy lived. On several map locations, photographs of the interiors of specific places, like the Abbey of Saint-Germain des Prés in Paris, are provided to help viewers visualize such spaces, while at the same time archived photos are juxtaposed against contemporary photographs to explore and document the demonstrable changes that occur when socio-political events intersect with landscape, relationships, and artistic practices. Viewers can also zoom in to access, when available, the specific addresses at which Loy was known to have lived or frequented, such as her apartments in Florence and New York City, so as to visit such places and experience them for themselves. True to our experience in the world, the map ensures that the boundaries between any one aspect of a moment, place, or artistic production are never disconnected and always in constant communication in a never-ending exchange of energy (a concept that fascinated Loy herself), which continues today not only through this project but through all of you reading just now.
For a basic chronology of Loy’s migrations, see Mina Loy’s Migrations in Timelines.
For more in-depth scholarly interpretations of Loy’s migrations, see Mina Loy Baedeker: A Scholarly Guide for Digital Travelers.