Nautical Works: Jacques Devaulx

In the words of John Edward Masefield: All I need is a tall ship and a star to guide her by… And as early cartographers were so used to printing on faraway, uncharted corners of their maps: here be dragons….

So all I need is a tall ship and maybe a reliable chart! Things that we now, with GPS and all the rest, have truly lost. Lost our bearings. This beautiful publication by TASCHEN books in a great sense brings us back to a forgotten reality. In this absurd epoch of flat-earth societies, moon landing deniers and a whole range of alternative conspiracy theorists and perceptions of reality, this book offers us the coordinates of where, and perhaps what we were, a young, explorative species trying to understand the confines of its existence. In terms of location. A Chart. You are here. This is where we are. This is where we know we can go. As a mariner myself I fully appreciate the beauty of a good chart. There is no feeling like being on the high seas at night with only the horizon and a few stars (if you’re lucky), a compass and, most important, a BEARING to go by. And the chart, upon which I plot my course over this dark expanse of open water, hoping that the chart is accurate and my bearing true.

Astrolabes, globes and charts. Alchemy and astrology. All expression of the human desire to understand its origins and reach out beyond them. To boldly go where no man has gone before, as Gene Roddenberry said in that iconic introduction to star trek. But without these charts, and the brave men who bore the fear of the unknown as they sailed toward uncharted space, we would never have left home. We may laugh at their primitive perception of the world they lived in those mysterious times, when magic was still punishable by the stake, but I feel they knew life better than we do now. Beware the dragons.

Jacques Devaulx – Nautical Works: 

Hardcover, 27.6 x 39.5 cm, 264 pages – € 100 Multilingual Edition: English, French, German