Experimental Geography tours Canada

Experimental Geography (curated by Nato Thompson) will be touring Canada over the next couple of months.

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), The Cargo Chain, 2008

It is already showing at the Museum London, London, Ontario (October 9, 2010 – January 2, 2011) and will then move to Freeman Art Gallery, Bishop’s University Sherbrooke, Quebec (January 21, 2011 – April 1, 2011).

Thereafter the exhibition is open to be booked between the dates of April 22, 2011 – December 31, 2011, so it is now my mission to bring it to Alberta!

For information on the exhibition and it’s accompanying book of the the same name go to the ICI’s website or simply read Nato Thompson’s curatorial statement:

“The manifestations of “experimental geography” (a term coined by geographer Trevor Paglen in 2002) run the gamut of contemporary art practice today: sewn cloth cities that spill out of suitcases, bus tours through water treatment centers, performers climbing up the sides of buildings, and sound works capturing the buzz of electric waves on the power grid. In the hands of contemporary artists, the study of humanity’s engagement with the earth’s surface becomes a riddle best solved in experimental fashion. The exhibition presents a panoptic view of this new practice, through a wide range of mediums including sound and video installations, photography, sculpture, and experimental cartography.

The approaches used by the artists featured in Experimental Geography range from the poetic to the empirical. The more pragmatic techniques include those used by the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) in projects made with students and other non-art groups that aim to strengthen peoples’ roles as agents of change in their own environments. See, for example, their map intended to help longshoremen and truckers identify chokepoints in the cargo trade network. In their similarly empirical projects, the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), a research organization, examines the nature and extent of human interaction with the earth’s surface. CLUI embraces a multidisciplinary approach that forces a reading of the American landscape (such as the disfiguring effects of culling natural resources from the picturesque banks of the Hudson River), thereby refamiliarizing viewers with the overlooked details of their everyday experience.”

Alternatively you could also listen/watch the Experimental Geography panel discussion that took place at the Graduate Center, CUNY in conjunction with the James Gallery’s presentation of Experimental Geography June 24-August 27, 2010.

Nato Thompson (Curator):

Trevor Paglen (Experimental Geographer):

David Harvey (Geographer/Social Theorist):

Liz Mogel (‘Map Artist’):

Ian Kerr (Architect/Environmental Artist)

My favourite work from the actual exhibition is It takes 154,000 breaths to evacuate Boston. For the work kanarinka ran the entire evacuation route system in Boston and attempted to measure the distance in human breath. The project also involves a podcast and a sculptural installation of the archive of tens of thousands of breaths. Kanarinka describes the work an “an attempt to measure our post-9/11 collective fear in the individual breaths that it takes to traverse these new geographies of insecurity”.

kanarinka (Catherine D’Ignazio), It Takes 154,000 Breaths to Evacuate Boston, 2007

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This entry was posted in Cultural Geography, Curation as Spatial Practice, Experimental Geographies, Mapping Sound and Sounding Maps, Maps and Mapping, Spatial Theory and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Experimental Geography tours Canada

  1. Brian Rosa says:

    Thanks for this post! I didn’t realize these videos were online. Hope you get the exhibition in Edmonton! To be honest, the exhibition looks great, but I feel a little weary that “experimental geography” has a sort of trademark now. I think it can mean something broader and more dynamic (with the work in this exhibition as great examples, nonetheless).

  2. Merle says:

    I think you are right ‘experimental geography’ should be something broader and more dynamic.

    I definitely think it has currency though – especially for describing the practice of many geographers who are departing from the cannon of traditional humanist methods which generate ‘text and talk’ and are instead employing experimental methods to emphasise sensory bodily and affective registers and extend the company and modality of what constitutes a research subject.

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