On the Road, On the Map
The work of Stefanie Posavec during the On the Map exhibition. Her pieces focused on On the Road, by Jack Kerouac (New York Times: “the most beautifully executed, the clearest and most important utterance” during the Beat Generation).
The maps visually represent the rhythm and structure of Kerouac’s literary space, creating works that are not only gorgeous from the point of view of graphic design, but also exhibit scientific rigor and precision in their formulation: meticulous scouring the surface of the text, highlighting and noting sentence length, prosody and themes, Posavec’s approach to the text is not unlike that of a surveyor. And similarly, the act is near reverential in its approach and the results are stunning graphical displays of the nature of the subject. The literary organism, rhythm textures and sentence drawings are truly gorgeous pieces.
[Source: NOTCOT – Stefanie Posavec “On the Map”]
A map of uniformed visualisation out of the chaotic humanity, as observed by Jack Kerouac.
A visualisation of Part One of On the Road, by Jack Kerouac.
Each literary component can be divided into even smaller parts, the smallest in this diagram being words. The diagram is read clockwise, starting from the first chapter, paragraph, or sentence.
Part > Chapters > Paragraphs > Sentences > Words
Selected Quotes from On the Road, by Jack Kerouac.
Variations in punctuation and pauses in the sentence create individual patterned diagrams for each sentence.
Beginning > italicized word > comma > semicolon > dashes > mid-sentence exclamation point > mid-sentence italicized word followed by an exclamation point > mid-sentence question mark > colon > parentheses > exclamation point.
Besides, all my New York friends were in the negative, nightmare position of putting down society and giving their tired bookish or political or psychoanalytical reasons, but Dean just raced in society, eager for bread and love; he didn’t care one way or the other, “so long’s I can get that lil ole gal with that lil sumpin down there tween her legs, boy,” and “so long’s we can eat, son, y’ear me? I’m hungry, I’m starving, let’s eat right now!”—and off we’d rush to eat, whereof, as saith Ecclesiastes, “It is your portion under the sun.”
The entirety of On The Road by Jack Kerouac.
After each sentence, the line turns right, creating the drawing.
Every sentence in On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, organized by words per sentence.
Eleven thematic categories with colour coding for each theme.
- Dean Moriarty (Protagonist)
An insight into the character of Dean Moriarty, the protagonist. Background into Dean’s life, his friends’ perception about him, Sal Paradise’s (the narrator) observation about his behaviour, and description of how he acts of speaks.
- Bop & Jazz Music
Description of the bop music nights the circle of friends often attend, explanation of the history of bop or jazz in America, and vivid sketches of the music itself as well as the musicians who create it.
- Social Events & Interaction
Relate to times when Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty are meeting and spending time with friends in various social settings.
Experiences had by Sal Paradise, Dean Moriarty, and the rest of their circle of friends while travelling.
- Sketches of Regional Life
Sal Paradise, the narrator, uses words to sketch a picture of the places he travels through, creating vivid images of the environment and the people who love in the locations in the mind of the reader.
- Parties, Drinking & Drugs
Detail the parties Sal, Dean, and their friends go to as well as scenes which involve drinking or drug-taking.
- Work & Survival
Describe the characters’ jobs of their experiences while searching for money to survive in their daily life or travels.
- Sal Paradise (Narrator)
Sal Paradise is the narrator of On The Road, describing his travel across the United States and Mexico as well as reflecting upon his friendship with Dean Moriarty, the main character. Sections of the novel that either give background into Sal’s character or his thoughts and beliefs about the people and places he meets on his travels.
- Women, Sex & Relationships
Any section of the novel that deal with sex, women, relationships with women, or a character’s personal philosophy about women.
- Illegal Activities & Encounters with the Police
Designate the passage within the novel where Sal and his friends commit illegal acts such as stealing food or cars; also, it designates the group ‘s encounters with the police or other self-imposed forms of law enforcement.
- Character & Sketches
The term “character sketches” refers to the sections in the novel when Sal Paradise gives background information about specific character in the book (except Dean Moriarty, who is referenced by his own colour). This background information aids the reader in learning more about the personality of the character described.
Also, check out William Faulkner’s Intruder in the Dust (1948) and George Orwell’ Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) infographics.