“The cross was pivotal to proving where the vacant lands began. Curiously, the cross was no longer there. The settlers then sought witnesses who could verify that a cross had been erected on the site and tell where exactly it had been placed…
He had removed the cross, in attempts to conceal the exact boundary and thereby obfuscate, for his advantage, where his line ran”
Acts of making visible what may have never been seen before, or to erase what was ever possible with their (our) presence. To be present in a space, to orient oneself within the confusion of not knowing where one is. We yearn to be found somewhere whether physically or mentally. Always trying to leave our mark and understand our own limits. In order to move forward, we must always leave a trace of something behind.
Using a sextant to check his position against the sun and the polestar, Hutchins established that the survey’s starting point lay on the latitude of forty degrees, thirty eight minutes, and two seconds north.*
*It has been proven that Hutchins was actually twenty-five seconds, or about 850 yards, farther north than he calculated-an acceptable error for a surveyor of his day
To map is to erase what existed before, the memory of a mark is always in motion, the way lines have been drawn in the land, imaginary & invisible. The fabric of the land sways eternally with the stable earth underneath our imaginations always present. There are moving weights of time against what seems bounded by gravity. The boundaries move and so does the earth. Human failure was inevitable in their measurements. When John A. Clark’s team reached the 103rd meridian, the point of beginning for the state of New Mexico, a monument was placed that read as such.
“This is a mound of very sandy soil; it has a bottle buried in it which contains the latitude and longitude of the point, a list of the names of the members of the Commission, and the date of its erection. This initial point is at the intersection of the thirty-second parallel and the Rio Grande, about 18 miles northwest of El Paso“
A lost corner is a point of a survey whose position cannot be determined, beyond reasonable doubt, either from traces of the original marks or from acceptable evidence or testimony that bears upon the original position, and whose location can be restored only by reference to one or more interdependent corners.
To find the way to move forward, you often times may need to re-trace your steps in order to re-orient where it is you are. To map is to move earth, it is to measure what it is will be prescribed to be changed. Many years were spent surveying the grid we see today on modern maps. We often may will ourselves to be lost intentionally, as if it is a game of chance. But to measure harbors a greater desire to not only be found but the will to also control where it is one orients themselves.
To passively observe a place is different than to survey it.…
How does one become more acutely aware of a place? We touch, we feel the surrounding area, with sensation. To be more acquainted with something, we use our bodies, our senses, we can feel the wind, the sun on our faces, there is a conversation in the movement. I search for vestiges of time, subtle ways of relating fail-able control to shifting memory.
In Henry David Thoreau’s survey map of Walden Pond, the map he presents is upside down and Thoreau only draws the true north direction, an arrow which is also pointing directly at us, the reader and observer, and leaving out any other direction bearings for others to read, intentionally, thus making the map not a usable document that is navigable, but a philosophical artistic rendering of a place one can wander or be lost within.
The cross was pivotal…Joseph P. Sanchez, Between two Rivers
Using a sextant to check his position…Andro Linkater, Measuring America
This is a mound of very sandy soil;…Senate Ex. Doc. 70, 47th Con., 1st session., [p. 302. baker.] John A. Clark’s survey.
A lost corner is a point of a survey… https://www.blm.gov/or/gis/geoscience/files/lost_oblit.pdf
To passively observe… Patrick Chura, Henry David Thoreau the Land Surveyor