Alighiero Boetti: Mappa


Until February 5th, the Museo Reina Sofía of Madrid, exhibits a great collection of works by Alighiero Boetti (1940 – 1994), an Italian conceptual artist, considered to be a member of the art movement Arte Povera. Many of his pieces are maps embroidered by artisans in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a result of a collaborative process leaving the design to the geopolitical realities of the time, and the choice of colours to the artisans responsible for the embroidery.

From wikipedia: “For me the work of the embroidered Mappa is the maximum of beauty. For that work I did nothing, chose nothing, in the sense that: the world is made as it is, not as I designed it, the flags are those that exist, and I did not design them; in short I did absolutely nothing; when the basic idea, the concept, emerges everything else requires no choosing.” Alighiero e Boetti, 1974

That’s why the sea is painted in red, pink or yellow; while they were doing their work, the artisans didn’t know what meant the area with no-assigned-colour. Although as it has been said by the expert in Boetti with whom I have visited the exhibition, they even didn’t know the meaning of the whole image.

Boetti was a conceptual artist, but his work is also visually rich and joyful. Being a coproduction, after Museo Reina Sofía, the exhibition will travel to the Tate Modern and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Highly recommended.

http://www.museoreinasofia.es/exposiciones/actuales/boetti_en.html

The Art of Mapping exhibit

London is really the place where maps and artists get along quite well those days, as illustrated by the current exhibit on “The Art of Mapping” at the TAG Fine Art gallery. Through the work of more than 20 artists, this exhibit provides another evidence of the rich and complex relationships that visual artists have been developping with maps in the recent years. The exhibit is nicely presented in its companion booklet, introduced by a short text written by Katharine Harmon. So it really seems that this is THE place to visit this November, which has been confirmed by Bill Cartwright who had the chance to see it and who was really impressed by its quality.

The Art of Mapping exhibit takes place at the TAG Fine Art gallery in London (14 – 26 November 2011) and also includes some artists talks.

“Collaborative Landscape” by Flynn O’Brien

In his “Collaborative Landscape” project, artist Flynn O’Brien proposes to participants to create their own “walking maps.” This project was recently started in order to create an on-going series of landscape images through a collaborative process between Flynn O’Brien and participants from around the world.  Using a process that Flynn created and transcribed in a manual (Landscape Manual), the participants are asked to follow a series of steps in objectively collecting photographic information while also making subjective choices along the way in the creation of a final image.
While a number of subjective choices are made by the participants throughout the collaborative process, a strict set of rules are adhered to, creating a common visual language between images.  Through this common language, the participant’s relationship with that environment is defined by their experience within that space.  The goal of the project is to continue to expand the number of participants, in order to further define this field of exploration.

mile end mapping

Image : Emmanuelle Jacques, 2011

If you are in Montréal in October, there is an interesting series of mapping activities that are going on at the gallery Articule (actually the activities started in September…).

In a series of workshops held at the centre, participants will be encouraged to reflect on notions of social cartography –socio-demographics, urban development, the places we reside in and appropriate, places of memory, places not represented by traditional maps. The aim of the project is to inspire people to think creatively about cultural and artistic spaces, what they represent in daily life, and what the notion of neighbourhood means today.

Even if you missed it this year, you might be able to psrticipate next year since this is supposed to be a yearly activity.

Thanks to Cecilia Chen for point me to this art and community mapping activity.

New book on Arts & Cartography (and environmental issues)

The book “Mapping Environmental Issues in the City: Arts & Cartography Cross-Perspectives” has now been published by Springer. This book compiles the different contributions from the workshop that we (the commission on Art & Cartography) organized in Montreal in September 2010. We would like to thank all the persons who have contributed to make this project happen.

This book complements the growing body of literature exploring the relationships between arts and cartography . It is distinct from the previous ones by its main focus: The multiple ways of representing a database. In the context of the exponential increase of the volume of geospatial data available, addressing this issue becomes critical and has not yet received much attention. Furthermore, the content of the database – environmental issues in the city – gives a strong social and political texture to the project.

(Un)balanced conference – Montreal, Nov. 3-4, 2011

The BALANCE-UNBALANCE conference will seek to develop an interdisciplinary approach in order to “deeper awareness and creating lasting intellectual working partnerships in solving our global environmental crisis” (ambitious program…).

Among the different activities proposed, there will be a session entitled Mapping environmental issues from above & from the ground. “Building on a previous workshop entitled “Mapping Environmental Issues: Arts and Cartography Cross-perspectives” (http://mappingworkshop.wordpress.com), this session aims to bring together scientists, artists, practitioners and students interested in mapping environmental issues from different perspectives, using different (and unconventional) approaches.”

Deadline for submitting abstracts: Aug. 2nd, 2011 (more details here)

Impressions: Experimental Walking Tour in Paris

Walking Tour Map: Quartier du Sentier

The working group of Art & Cartography had a very creative and inspiring workshop at the International Cartographic Conference (ICC) in Paris. During this activity, 26 people from all over the world with different backgrounds and interests related to arts and maps came together to walk through five Parisian areas in order to map the visible and unvisible frontieres. This was a very stimulating event as illustrated by some the following pictures: