Cryptosphere Simeon Nelson & Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) 2007-2008

Cryptosphere Simeon Nelson, 2008

Installation (detail) Simeon Nelson, 2008

Devised by Simeon Nelson and curated by Jordan Kaplan, Cryptosphere was the first artist residency to be hosted by the Royal Geographical Society, with the Institute of British Geographers.

Working in consultation with Parabola,  Nelson held discussions with RGS Fellows, staff and leading British academics involved in geography-related disciplines while investigating the Society’s substantial map collections.

Nelson described his Cryptosphere as ‘the sum of all withheld and hidden information in a given system’. He developed responses to complex mapping methodologies that contain multiple layers of meaning through the creation of a new body of work, specifically locating the mythological and ornamental within the physical and temporal world: El Dorado, Eden, Paradise, Utopia and Hell were addressed alongside the evolution of the loxodrome, perspective and projection. An exhibition detailing Nelson’s residency was staged in the spring of 2008 at the RGS gallery on Exhibition Road, London.

Parabola published a 64-page book to accompany the residency and exhibition. Texts were contributed by Dr Denis Alexander, Faraday Institute, St Edmund’s College and The Babraham Institute, Cambridge; Prof Denis Cosgrove, Royal Holloway, University of London and Humboldt Professor at UCLA; Dr Alessandro Scafi, Warburg Institute and University of Bologna and contemporary art writer and critic Rebecca Geldard. Documentation and dissemination of works produced alongside archival resources graciously loaned by the RGS (with IBG) came together in this publication to shed light on the historical significance of, and the artist’s own interest in, the mapping of myth and the unveiling of ‘fact’.