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U of T's Geography and Planning | Intersections Speaker Series | MOBILITIES at 230 College

Fri, Nov 14/08

November 14, 2008 3-5 PM
230 College Street, Room 066
An Atlas of Radical Cartography
Lize Mogel and Lex Bhagat

Radical cartography is a practice that uses maps and mapping to promote social change, and is part of a cultural movement that cuts across boundaries of art, geography, and activism. Lize Mogel and Lex Bhagat will discuss their recent exhibition “An Atlas” and book “An Atlas of Radical Cartography” that brings together artists, architects, and art collectives who make maps as part of both their artistic and activist practices.

Maps, as inherently political documents, are an ideal form to visualize the social ramifications of spatial practices. Artists play with cartographic conventions including geographic shapes, wayfinding symbols, and aerial views in order to delve into issues from garbage to globalization, migration to extraordinary rendition. Mogel and Bhagat will look specifically at artists and others who are using mapping for social and political transformation.

Projects discussed include Ashley Hunt’s intricate diagram of the social effects of the global prison-industrial complex; the Center for Urban Pedagogyケs mapping of stakeholders who make and manage the “garbage machine” in New York City; Pedro Lasch’s maps which bear physical traces of being carried across the US/Mexico border; and Trevor Paglen’s route map of CIA rendition flights. While mapping in art practice has expanded into technological and performative realms, the focus here is on a traditional aspect of the map as a work-on-paper. This underscores artists’ use of the “lo-tech,” paper map as an accessible, aesthetic, and informational form that can be used for public address.
More information about the project can be found at www.an-atlas.com

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Lize Mogel is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator who works with the interstices between art and cultural geography. She inserts and distributes and cartographic projects into public space, including in Los Angeles (Public Green, 2001) and Wood River Valley, Idaho (Migration Map, 2007). In collaboration with geographer Chris Kahle, she co-organized Genius Loci, an exhibition of conceptual mappings of Los Angeles that was on view at Sci-Arc and the California Museum of Photography, 2002. She has worked with the Center for Land Use Interpretation and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. Her work has been shown at the Gwangju Biennial, South Korea; Overgaden, Copenhagen; PS122, New York City; and in the upcoming "Experimental Geography" (ICI, touring). www.publicgreen.com

Alexis Bhagat is a writer, sound artist and activist. He is the co-editor (with curator Gregory Gangemi) of Sound Generation, a collection of interviews with contemporary sound artists and composers (Autonomedia, 2008), and has organized concerts, discussions and “listening lounges” of sound art and phonographic work in New York (Aspects of Jupiter, 2004), Japan (Sound Art and the Street, 2002), Vermont (The Voice of Authority and the Soundscape of Unfettered Being, 2005) and Delhi, India (Sound Art in New York, 2006.) Since 2002, he has been a director of the Institute for Anarchist Studies, a grant giving body supporting radical writers, and regularly writes a column On Words and Revolution for their journal, Perspectives. www.nadalex.net

Lize Mogel and Lex Bhagat will also be hosting “An Atlas” Workshop
November 13, 3-5 PM in the Physical Geography Building, Room 107

Radical Cartography Workshop invites practitioners and students from different disciplines (planning, sociology, architecture, geography, environmental science, advocacy, and art/design) to convene for a rethinking of cartography. Participants should bring to the workshop one or more maps that they are using in their daily lives, maps that they have produced themselves, or maps they are making direct use of in their research and practice. Together, we will discuss and critique the content and functions of these maps from a radical cartographic perspective.

For more information or to get involved with planning please contact David J. Roberts (robertsd@geog.utoronto.ca)