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Whose Map is it? new mapping by artists Exhibition

02 Jun-24 Jul 2010

International artists subvert the socio-political structures and cultural hierarchies that traditionally inform mapmaking

Exhibition cover illustration (detail) by Clayton Junior, 2010

Time Out – 4 stars

‘…stuffed with juicy and controversial pieces…’
Le Cool

Nine contemporary artists from across the globe explore new approaches to mapping in this exhibition of film, installation, print and audio. They engage with the social and political issues often omitted from the traditional map.  As curated by Teresa Cisneros and Christine Takegney.

There is a desire for more democratic approaches to mapping, as new technologies such as GPS challenge our ideas of the map. The two-dimensional format no longer feels adequate to represent a rapidly changing society.

Artists focus on subjects such as the Thames River map to explore the North-South London divide, a magnetic puzzle map reveals a ‘new’ Middle East, and an audio installation uses body movements to experience the history of Rumba.

Artist Susan Stockwell’s new site-specific commission, River of Blood, for the vast window of Rivington Place, is made up of an intricate network of red tributaries to form the iconic image of the Thames River map. She draws parallels between city roads and human arteries, investigating the north versus south London divide that the capital’s citizens frequently highlight.

Oraib Toukan’s interactive magnetic puzzle The New(er) Middle East plays on an infamous map detailing how ‘a better Middle East would look’, as suggested by an ex-US Army Lieutenant. In Gayle Chong Kwan‘s Save the last dance for me, a large-scale map tracks the Rumba from Cuba to the international ballroom. She invites you to follow dance instructions and experience another culture through dance.

Other artists such as Bouchra Khalili, Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa and Alexandra Handal refer to migration, displacement and colonial imperialism. Esther Polak tracks dairy distributors in Nigeria: both a nomadic tribe and the modern day transporters. Milena Bonilla’s dislocated series of poster maps present a new landscape view of the Americas including Mexico, Canada and Venezuela, and Otobong Nkanga’s drawings reveal the ecological transformations of the oil-rich Delta region in Nigeria.

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