Jan Estep, Beneath the surface (of language), Silver Island Mountain Byway, Wendover, Utah, USA, 2009, illustrated folded sheet map, two-sided, four-color, offset printed, 32″w x 24″h (unfolded), 3″w x 8″h (folded).
Beneath the surface (of language), Silver Island Mountain Byway, Wendover, Utah, USA is the second of four National-Geographic-style illustrated print maps I produced between 2007 and 2013. It plots the named backcountry byway that lies just northeast of the Utah/Nevada border along Interstate 80, located in the Great Salt Lake Desert. The map was researched during an artist residency at the Center for Land Use Interpretation’s (CLUI) Wendover facilities. While there I wrote an essay about how language relates to the natural world, inspired by the rock graffiti along I-80, conceptual land art of the 1970s, linguistic reference, and the possibility of an embodied writing. As a site-specific, poetic-sculptural intervention, I wrote out the essay by hand, divided it into sections, and buried it back into the land along the route, an homage to Nancy Holt’s “Buried Poems” (1969-71). The printed map documents the burial locations and also includes a reprint of the original essay, topographical illustrations, and photographs of the byway and local rock graffiti.