Monday, 28 January 2008

On Incorrect Maps

[...] A friend once asked me where I was in my maps.Would be easy to say: I stay outside, it is only my subjective gaze on European networks and connections. But by following physically the nonlinear logic of these hints, from one billboard, one town to another, getting new numbers on the phone, returning again, you cannot be sure is it you creating this map by travelling and drawing or are you simply the dot of ink leaving traces while moving through it.

As the description of your own body cannot be distinguished from your bodily sensation, notes of the journey are automatically body notes with landscapes being absorbed into your body and finally turned into the body of a map. Maps couldn’t come into being without physical movement and time, though in the end they do not depict neither movement nor time. Actually they are hiding much more than what they are showing.

Also this map does not depict borderlines, only distances, though I was constantly crossing borders – one time at the Swiss border I had to get out all the stuff of my rucksack to produce it to the officer who was, after two hours of going through nuns‘ underwear and childrens‘ teddy bears, already too tired to realize that I was the bad guy in the bus, smuggling handdrawn maps that deleted completely the well-controlled borderlines of his home country. After this two hour check I was quite dissapointed: My maps seemed not to have any revolutionary potential at all.

I came to understand this map as a correction: All names of people, projects, culture centres, festivals have the same size, there are no hierarchies between centre and peripherics, though it was necessary for drawing it to start with an invisible centre from where the first paths could start and in consequence others would follow. At the end the map was covered by invisible yet influencial centres, the radius of paths starting from there is marking different regions in a multiple perspective.
Still the map does not say how often and in which way these paths are used. Some artists might even use even ships amd river passages to be more flexible in where they what to enter new regions - a way of transport that wouldn’t work so easy in real geographics of Europe.
If people are travelling through Europe with their work they are not necessarily leaving their ground. To touch the ground, you do not have to be grounded, you do not have to touch the pavement even, if your surroundings supply enough floor, artistic or artificial one. Andre Lepecki explains the term „grounded“ by describing an artist crawling up the avenue in superman’s costume, touching the pavement literally with every move. He himself is standing on a wooden stage in a theatre in Gent, in front of an audience of dance and theatre people, students and choreographers.

If you want to be grounded I guess you have to step out of this theatre, not only expand your range of action in culturescape because in the world this „map“ depicts there is no „real outside“.
„Outside and real“ – again these dangerous words, describing the nonexisting yet influencial centre from which the photographic image starts and where it points to. A blind spot so to say. The spot where my snapshots lead to, in addition to the map that has no geographical sites or out-sides. But as you are not able to see a blind spot – it is exactly the area taken out of the radius of perception – there would be no use in showing „real“ snapshots. So what to do?

At this point (between Madrid and the border of Portugal geographically spoken) I decided to leave behind my camera and only take imaginative snapshots. Later on friends called me crazy when hearing that I had travelled to all these places, Lisbon, Porto, Madrid, Barcelone, Paris, Geneva, Vilnius, Riga, Talinn, Helsinki and also places they have never heard of as Palanga, Montemor-o-Novo, Inari, Pärnu, Kaunas, Liepaja, Pyhäjärvi without taking any photos. I mentioned a rather practical reason: Imaginative snapshots are easier to carry. In fact I believe in slides without image or spoken words without recording more than in what is visible and proofable, because of their moment of appearence – their presence, in the centre always a blind spot, as presence itself cannot be grasped - and the search for traces afterwards, on the blank screen and in the auditorium.

Let’s take a look (turn)

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