Speculum Topographicum

Video documentation of the installation made as part of The Ultimate Yarnwork project.

Featuring the voices of Gunnar Staalesen, Allison Evans, Amanda Beech, Benedict Singleton.

This frame enough for all the world to view,
This Glasse layes in a small proportion true.

— Hopton, Speculum Topographicum; or, The Topographical Glass (1611)

Crime Fiction is a plot-driven genre fiction, a generic form of narrative that deals with events which could take place in any locale.

This installation-diagram uses the conventions of crime and thriller fiction to avoid ‘site-specificity’, instead projecting onto the local scene all the generic elements of a detective-story plot. The scene outside the window is mapped onto a series of plot points, which then converge through a focal point, and are geometrically transformed to map onto a ‘yarnwork’ or ‘murder board’ in the detective’s office.

The diagram thus brings together the multiple senses of ‘plot’—graphic, geometrical, narrative, conspiratorial—placing the viewer in the position of the detective, confronting his own thought pattern, and trying to find the transformation that will resolve the plot.