anna ziser

A Map of Quarantine, May 2020
Animation, 2:35

artist statement

For this project (completed May 2020), I researched the history of cartography and how artists can use maps to represent complex and poetic ideas. Because maps are so critical to helping us feel like we know where we are, I became interested in the idea of being lost, and what makes it unsettling but also valuable. After leaving a semester school program I had been in last spring and staying in quarantine, I have struggled with mental health and feeling “lost” internally. I find myself wishing I had a map, or some concrete sense of direction to help me fee less uncertain.

In my animation, I am exploring how creating maps can be a tool for “finding oneself and expressing ideas about our surroundings. Incorporating research and inspiration from artists and cartographers, I created a personal map of quarantine, my experience leaving school, and my concerns about the future. The video alternates between scenes of the main character (a self portrait) and different views into her thoughts and memories in the form of maps. The film includes maps of my house, Oxbow school, the USA, and several more abstract maps of the thoughts and feelings circling inside of my head.

My work is also influenced by being pen pals with some of my friends in other cities, the postal delivery service, and how we can try to feel closer to people even when they are far away. I was also inspired by different time zones and how we are all sort of connected through Zoom during the pandemic. I intend for this piece to communicate feelings about the world today that others may relate to, and acknowledge how quarantine can affect teenagers like myself. I used several different mediums in this film, including stop motion with handmade props and a doll I altered, marker and pastel drawings, and paper cutouts. I incorporate green-screens to have two or more layers of visuals in certain scenes. I took photographs on my phone, used a scanner to capture my drawings, and edited the film on Adobe Premiere.

Music credit: "Moonlight" by Chad Crouch, CC BY-NC

ig: @ajziser