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The Map Is Not The Territory, 2012
for Carl Collins

In 2012, Odyssey Works selected Carl Collins, an information architect living in Brooklyn, to be the recipient of an Odyssey. Carl was enveloped in a fast-paced world of ideas: working three jobs, constantly reading multiple books, learning about mapping, and spending time with a tight-knit group of friends. Carl’s obsession with mapping became a key to his Odyssey as it would become the lens with which he could link the high pace of his brain to bring himself more into his body.

A number of weeks before his Odyssey, Carl received a beat up paperback copy of a book that was allegedly written by Jorge Luis Borges, one of his favorite authors. Many of the stories had to do with mapping and other themes that were resonant with his life, and the margins were filled with notes. He also began encountering a man wearing a goat mask here and there around the city. The Goat Man would antagonize him: squirt him with water, throw a pie in his face, hand him strange objects.

On the day of his Odyssey, Carl awoke to a clock radio show about mapping and a series of text messages from his friends telling him that his friend Miles was missing. He embarked on an urgent hunt find Miles and map the city. Throughout the day, he encountered a character from the Borges book, was chased by the Goat Man, and finally arrived at Central Park where he met a choreographer that he had met several weeks earlier. From there he began walking south carrying a stone a la Sisyphus all the way to a small community garden in Alphabet City. Carl was exhausted; his brain was no longer busy. Here he was blindfolded and kidnapped by the Goat Man and brought to the woods upstate where he was set to burn at the stake like Joan of Arc. Just when he felt the fire crackling at his feet, his friend Miles released him, and a wild Bacchanal ensued. Carl’s high energy was brought from his brain into his body as his danced, feasted, and sang around the fire. He went to bed and when he awoke the next morning, he found himself in a new life in a new home somewhere in the country and was given a typewriter. After lunch, and a day writing in his outdoor studio, which overlooked a gardener and an artist as they worked, he had to hitchhike and find his way home to his friends.

Read more on Carl's Odyssey from Newsweek and ArtInfo.


New York City: Gran Electrica Cafe, the Brooklyn Bridge, City Hall Park, subways, taxis, Samsara Cartographic Consultants Main Office, Central Park, East 6th Street Botanical Community Garden; Upstate New York: private home in Garrison, NY; Assemblage Gallery and artist's workshop in Oak Hill, NY; Public Scene: City Hall Park.


Director: Abraham Burickson; Formal Structure Team: Ariel Abrahams, Abraham Burickson, Ayden LeRoux, Tal A. Gluck, Jen Harmon, Christopher Tocco; Production Team: Ariel Abrahams, Bjørn Stange Ankre, Danielle Baskin, Molly Edwards, W. Laurie Ewer, Tal A. Gluck, Ayden LeRoux, Jen Harmon, Christine Jones, Charlie Maciejewski, Zack Rosen, Alexander Symes, Christopher Tocco, Nell Waters; Writers: Abraham Burickson, M. S. Coe, William Cordeiro, Ayden LeRoux, Elizabeth Hille, Bob Proehl; Acting/Scene Development: Jen Harmon, Christopher Tocco; Acting: Emily Alpren, John Andrews, W. Laurie Ewer, Daniel Kwiatkowski, Charlie Maciejewski, Michelle Reyf, Mike Sadler; Park Performers: Amelia Saul, Dimitri Vital, Doug Chapman, Ariel Beach-Westmoreland, Faith Westdrop, Bryce Cutler, Kelly Donovan, Eulani Labay, Emily Alpren; Dancers: Danica Holoviak, Storme Sundberg, Un-Jin Kim; Book Design: Sasha Wizansky; Ritual Facilitation: Jesse Hathaway, Matthew Mitler; Documentation: Ayden LeRoux.