Draw Me A _____
What if you drew a creature? Could it unfold a new geographical imagination in a specific way?
“Draw me a __” is more than an invite to doodle. Embodied in the artefacts, myths, and images of countless cultures — liminal creatures not only enchant the occupied space; they fill the blankness with fantasies yet they are still bound to the creation of the world. Just like when the little prince asked for a drawing of a sheep, what he really wanted was a drawing of a box for him to imagine his own sheep1 . This issue of Paprika! is the “box.”
In The Classic of Mountains and Seas 山海经, mythical entities — chimeras and beasts representing heterogeneous cultures — coexist with humans in the known and unknown territory;
The raven, in stories of First Nations, reborn from a human as a liminal being and disseminated light they stole from the nesting boxes;
The Huldufólk, or the hidden people in Icelandic and Faroese folklore, are interdimensional beings existing alongside humans and occasionally lending a helping hand to humans who otherwise would die without intervention.
Inspired by the whimsicality of life-forms, this issue re-imagines coexistence through instability and uncertainty. It counters the assumptions associated with unscrutinized use of spatial imagery, inviting alternative ways of reading space. It recognizes the representation of human beings, animals and demons as a process for exhibiting the connection, rather than fixing the distinction, between different realities. It entertains the postulation and embraces the imagination to test the elasticity between various kinds of thresholds — human or animal, law or lawless, claimed land or terra nullius.
Contributors to this issue reflect upon the role of imagination, using it as a tool to resituate ourselves in the interweave between real and imaginative/uncharted lands and the breakdown of binaries. They discuss how representation impacts our ways of seeing, create architectural possibilities for new existential dimensions, and question our perception of the known — under a reality loaded with data, definitions and boundaries, are we still able to acknowledge and imagine the unknown?
Upon opening the box, enjoy the treat!
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, trans. Katherine Woods (Middletown, DE: BN Publishing, 2010). ↩︎