Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Nancy Macko

Reader 2

Tia Blassingame

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Rights Information

Madeline H Helland


Field Guide is a mixed-media artist book detailing the exploration of a fictitious culture through cartography, narrative, and illustration. It is presented through the lens of an amateur archaeologist, navigating a chain of islands to search for ruins and artifacts. In part, the project is focused on the fantasy of an imagined world. The island chain is a place entirely of my own creation. By creating the viewpoint of an outside explorer, it was possible to navigate through this world. Although I, as the artist, can know everything about this fictitious world, adopting the perspective of someone distanced by time and place allowed for discrepancies, misinterpretation, and the sense of mystery that typically colors interpretations of foreign, ancient cultures. This character is forced to fill in the context for what she is viewing based upon her conjectures, which may or may not reveal the full truth. Overall, perspective on cultures is often shaped by the observations of a few individuals. In the same way, viewers are forced to consider this culture through the lens of one character, without being entirely certain if they are consuming objective truths.