As an immigrant to the USA, maps have been my entry and guide into new territories and have often been a starting point into my investigations of place. After re-locating several times, the place that I am exploring in “A Topography of Touch” is metaphorical, more an interior place than a specific geographical location and one that I carry with me. Traveling in this terrain, has allowed me to explore ‘touch’ in a conceptual way and physically through material.
As a recent citizen of the USA, the process of Naturalization has subjected me to documentation and recording of my physical body through fingerprinting. Using a map of my index finger s as a starting point, I have translated it into relief, topographic and architectural structures in porcelain, through a series of processes, via computer screen, CNC laser cutter and by hand. I am often searching for the relevance of an ancient medium–clay– in a digital world and in this series, I am exploring ways of bringing together these two different technologies, ceramics and the computer, the real and the virtual. Linking the cool and detached visual space of the computer screen with the engaged and connected activity of working with clay is the digit–providing the tactility that allows access to both of these worlds.
— Janet Williams