One day, some months before my residency began at the de Young, I was walking through the museum. I was on my own, thinking about the ideas I would be working on during the residency. I knew that I would be representing my studio as a place where I’d be working and thinking about where I’m from – but I was thinking about other people, too. After all, I thought, everyone is from somewhere. When we meet someone, we ask ‘Where are you from?’ My head was full of ideas about this but, as I was walking through the lobby, I began to hear the voices of people walking past me. They often had distinctly regional accents or different languages from my own. There were people not only from various parts of this country but various parts of the world. For a moment, the museum lobby seemed almost like an airport. Then I remembered the world maps you sometimes see in airports, showing flight trajectories criss-crossing the globe, and it occurred to me that I could make a map of the world describing where I and other people are from. We could make images of remembered places or people and connect them to that place in the world. I pictured a map that tells stories of places and people who converged for a time in a room at the de Young museum, leaving images and lines to describe the place where they are from, like trajectories of memory.
So I drew the map of the world on a large canvas, leaving a margin for myself and others to add an image in pencil, and included it in the installation. Many people have since drawn images with flight lines to show where they’re from. In the evening, after everyone has gone, I look at the images and follow the lines. There are many surprising images and the lines lead to many different places. These, I think, are flights of the imagination.