Imaginary Construction


Installation at Utopographies Symposium:  UAL

As readers we construct an imagined site for narrative, hung from fragments of spatial description in the text, participating in its construction to make a convincing habitable whole.

This process of construction is evident in the variety of cover art for a single novel, each a response to the text completed by the artists’ own concept of this space. By closely reading these images in terms of their depictions of the built environment they can be traced to phrases, scenes or spaces within the text, and can be considered as a series of constructions of the same absent paradigm.

These artworks and excerpts form the basis of an interactive installation which invites participants to add their own readings, making visible a network of collective associations. Through the documentation and analysis of this installation this article aims to reveal the way in which we complete imagined worlds with elements of the known, and how the construction of fiction reflects our relationship to the real.

AmyButt_Image1 copy.jpg

Interactive / Responsive Practice

The network installation installed at the Utopography conference is mirrored as an online resource that is modifiable using synchronous mind-mapping software. This network began with images of the book covers linked to selected quotes from the novel, displaying the spatial and social associations I have traced through these images and this text. It invites responses from the viewers, modifications to strengthen connections, making new links or breaking them, or the addition of new associations by linking to the work of other theorists or artists, or a personal response provoked by these sources. I hope this work will accumulate associations, new readings and shifting interpretations, formed by the collective knowledge and experience of the participants.

above: original network,

below: live link to editable network