Sunday, December 21, 2008

Endless Landscape

Just after Thanksgiving when I returned to Boston I was passing time in Coolidge Corner at Eureka . It's a tiny little shop fantastically packed full of all kinds of puzzles and board games. I had been in there before under similar circumstances of just waiting for another store to open. So I went in thinking I was just going to tinker around when I spotted this tiny box on a table in the center of the store. 

Obviously my attention was grabbed by the the title! What a treasure I can now create an endless number of landscapes in my house, at my desk or on my coffee table seeing all kinds of wonderful history in the land and people with out ever going out side! I purchased them with out much thought. 

When I got it back to my apartment and started to play around with the tiny cards, shuffling them about, I wanted to know more about them. So I turned to the trusty google and Wikipedia. As it turns out these little cards have quite the history. The Endless Landscape is also known as a polyorama or myriorama which means multi view, and was a popular 18th and 19th century storytelling game. They are made of a series of paintings that are pieces of a panorama and can be rearranged over and over again because the edge of each card has a horizon and a landscape element that will match up with any other card in the set. 
According to Wikipedia the creation of the endless landscape games was "... all part of a wider interest in viewing landscape as panorama, and in new ways presenting 'spectacular' scenes."
Wikipedia also describes the early card sets as being made up of "people, buildings and other compatible backgrounds" that could be laid out in many different arrangements "allowing a child to create a variety of imaginary landscapes." Some early ones that the cite specifically depicted English and Italian landscapes. 
Here is one example of the many landscapes I created over the last few weeks. 


shelby marie skumanich. said...

i love this! love love love it! i will definately have to pick one up when i am in boston. i've been thinking about making some panoramics in the coming weeks (i am getting a new tripod) and those fall really close to what i think about when i am making them, which is a landscape rooted in reality but pieced together. genius!!

A.Kilton said...

They are fantastic and a great way of thinking about the way land and place meet each other aren't they? I just ordered a pretty cool one from england that is a replica of some of the older imagery used. It's very exciting!

Anonymous said...

They are fantastic and a great way of thinking about the way land and place meet each other ,........
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