Memory and Line

For many years humans have felt the need to use the tools they possessed to make markings. The cave paintings in Indonesia date 40,000 years and show a variety of different hand stencils and a couple of detailed animal drawings named as a “pig-deer”. (Battersby, M. 2014)

Although these drawings may seem rather ordinary the idea of cataloguing can be appropriately applied. It seems as though the hand marks could be a sign of registering the amount of people belonging to that particular family/tribe, and the animal paintings being mapping of predators or food found. Here the markings seem to be more than just playful shapes but a way of keeping records of their own history.

We ourselves are surrounded by the use of line and shape, it seems as though it is in our nature to constantly label and create symbols to bring understanding to a situation or object. Simple designs have been created to be memorable, multilingual and recognisable in a rushed environment. For example when you are crossing the red man means wait and green man means go.

Although the use of symbols are present nothing is more present than lines, they create our words, structure and our destination. Maps are very much linked to the use of line especially in the case of the London Underground map. Designed in 1933 by Harry Beck, basing his design on circuit diagrams rather than accuracy. The simplistic use of colour and line is easily recognisable and memorable; it is also easy to navigate. (Transport for London, no date)

During this lecture we were tasked to draw a journey during an important day. I chose traveling to my Nana and Granddad’s house on Christmas day to see the family. During this process I saw that I drew my journey in lines too and came to realise that when trying to remember a journey we think of the path we took which will always result in a long line.

Battersby, M. (2014) 40,000 year old cave paintings include ‘oldest hand stencil know to science’. Available at: (Accessed: 27 April 2015)

Transport for London. (no date) Harry Becks Tube map. Available at: (Accessed: 27 April 2015)

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