I have recently been introduced to MAP: Movement Art Public/Make Art Public.
Founded in January 2006, in Montreal Quebec, MAP is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of art and culture in everyday life. MAP applies an innovative strategy that recuperates unsold advertising space in order to provide creative people from a variety of artistic fields with a distribution network in direct view of the mainstream public.
MAP’s main objective is to provide access to creativity emanating from different art fields by developing a distribution network to exhibit an artist’s work and enhance artistic awareness, whilst at the same time using public places and spaces. Their strategy is achieved utilizing unused advertising space on billboards containing outdated filler-ads. This presents an enormous contemporary potential to inform, educate and inspire through visual cultural distribution.
Artists who have exhibited work through MAP’s schemes include: Edward Burtynsky, Julia Fullerton-Batten, Dulce Pinzon, Isabelle Hayeur, Loan Nguyen, Corey Arnold, Sanchez Brothers, Thomas Brodin, Misty Keasler, Cao Fei, Jeongmee Yoon, Ryan Schude, Daniela Edburg and Yang Yi.
MAP’s philosophy for me connects with Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel’s groundbreaking editorial and curatorial project: Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy (2005).
At a time of political turmoil and anticlimax, Latour and Weibel’s aim, through both their exhibition and book, is to redefine politics as operating in the realm of things. Politics, for them and the other contributors, is no longer just an arena, a profession, or a system, but a concern for things brought to the attention of the fluid and expansive constituency of the public.
In both the exhibition and the accompanying book they basically asked the question: how are things made public?
Or to put it another way: what is a republic, a res publica, a public thing, if we do not know how to make things public?
As they state, “there are many other kinds of assemblies, which are not political in the usual sense, that gather a public around things—scientific laboratories, supermarkets, churches, and disputes involving natural resources like rivers, landscapes, and air”. Following this, the authors of Making Things Public—and the ZKM show the book accompanied—ask what would happen if politics revolved around disputed things?
Instead of looking for democracy only in the official sphere of professional politics, then, they examine the new atmospheric conditions—technologies, interfaces, platforms, networks, and mediations that allow things to be made public in the 21st century. In the book they argue that the old definition of politics is too narrow; there are many techniques of representation—in politics, science, and art—of which Parliaments and Congresses are only a part.
Contributors to the book include such prominent thinkers as Richard Rorty, Simon Schaffer, Peter Galison, Richard Powers, Lorraine Daston, Richard Aczel, and Donna Haraway. While they all come from different disciplinary ‘publics’, they all unite in championing the new idea of what Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel call an “object-oriented democracy.”