Cartonography - Collecting & mapping fruit cartons


5th February 2014

Over the last twelve months or so I have been collecting fruit boxes. I have in the order of 300 boxes in my collection, which are bunched together with tape and piled up in my studio. They are numerous and not particularly small in their numerousness. They are becoming a little annoying actually. But they shan’t be thrown way. At least not until I find what I am looking for – or rather until I have exhausted all possible avenues of enquiry on the fruit box…

Because actually, I don’t really know what I am looking for. There were things that I set out to prove but after analysing the source material it gradually became apparent that these would not become truths, and I have since come to believe (or have come to tell myself) that it is just as interesting to find things that one wasn’t expecting as it is to make theory from hypothesis. My questions about fruit boxes have become smaller and simpler over time. Now I simply ask: what can fruit boxes tell us?

Cartonography – a pun for the mapping of fruit boxes – will help me find answers. I am going to find patterns and decide what these could mean.

Earlier entries in this blog have essentially originated from this sort of observational process. Recently, while there was ideal circumstances to do so, I documented my collection. The documentation is each box pinned to the wall in its flattened form in order that all the box’s markings can be seen including their origins.* The boxes were grouped into type: bananas, citrus, apples etc., and documented in this order. The categorisation and aggregation of the material is starting to reveal certain things, which will not be elaborated upon in this entry, but through further posts on The Cartonographer. Irresistible topics await, such as The Pagan Farmer: Fruit Boxes and Sun Worship, or; Sexy Fruit: Fruit Boxes and the Female Form, or; Wonderland: The Many Colourful Characters in the World of Fruit boxes**

Please stay tuned to The Cartonographer to enjoy the fruits of my labour. For now however, please visit Cartonograph, my google map dedicated to the mapping of fruit boxes. It is growing on a daily basis:

*It should be mentioned that what I am most interested in at the moment is boxes that are non-generic i.e. they come from a particular farm. Generic boxes are those that are produced by manufacturers for farmers that don’t wish to have their own branded box, and while they form a significant part of the collection, and will probably play an important role in various permutations of arranging the collection, I am not able to map them and they are therefore not included in the cartonograph.

**NB Working titles