Bucharest Biennale 3



“How do we know that we are not living in a grand map, doing its best to represent a reality we don’t recognize?”

Never perfect, never complete, never comprehensive, always tentative, wanting, deficient, the map insistently makes us aware of that unrepresentable whole, that catholic embrace of all things, also known as reality. The map, in fact, upsets any representational faith we might still sport and leaves us in savory shambles. It deconstructs realities, it suggests certain paths, particular possibilities, suggestive options, while at the same undermining any secure grasp we might have thought we had for a moment on our existential context, or on, in other words, life.

Mapping is, in fact, not a mimetic exercise, a process of analogue imitation by way of reduction and abstraction, a means towards the splendid and refractory lives of copies and reproductions. Maps are, rather, parallel worlds, rich and powerful out of their own specific properties, producers of other spaces and alternative geographies. And exactly because of this: resourceful and productive and beautiful instrumentalities for the contemporary moment, for navigation – or withdrawal ? in these strange times in the midst of the landscapes of terror, fear and loss, of the territories of restricted movement, control and surveillance, of borders which are walls, of globalization with its promises and defeats.

BB3 attends to the geographical turn in contemporary creativity and current representational practices. Promoting cartographic literacy, imagining the map as a problematic and unpredicatable and productive and liberating instrument, BB3 invites mapmakers, cartographers, navigators, mapreaders, guides, maptravelers, mapprogrammers, mapdevotees, mapdestroyers of all kinds. Join us in mapping our moment, join us in being exactly here, which, as Joyce had it, is the same as being everywhere. And nowhere.

As for a preliminary structure in its attention towards processes, behaviours and products of mapping, BB3 will be organized into three thematic sections.

  1. Cartographies of today. A resource center and archive bringing together an array of materials and projects relating contemporary cartographic practices – scientific, social, practical. This will include such things as a module on the history of the world map, including the radical reinvention of this tradition by the German cartographer Arno Peters, a sampling of contemporary social/political maps as those produced by the magazine Le Monde Dimplomatique mapping things such as the spread of AIDS, the networks and trade routes of the black economies of the mafias, or the global movement of refugees, or the European Language Map produced by the Language Survey Commission.
  2. A short history of the map in the visual arts. A selection of key works, relating to maps and mapping throughout modern and contemporary art – works of artists such as Richard Purdy, Joaquin Torres-Garcia and Öyvind Fahlström. This presentation could be a combination of actual works and a digital presentation.
  3. Thematic group exhibition (at several venues) targeting contemporary art practices where the map is a key thematics or processes of mapping are prominent. Make note that the reading of map and mapping is not always literal, but often associative, questioning, assertive. Approximately 20 international artists will be selected to participate in this section.

Jan-Erik Lundström
Johan Sjöström

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