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Towards Terra Infirma

By David Michael Perez

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As the 'objective text' par excellence, maps and their cultural production have proved to be fertile ground for both deconstruction and more direct political action. Productively engaging in these two strains, An Atlas of Radical Cartography is an exciting project using the technology of maps for social change. Organized by artists Lize Mogel and Alexis Bhagat, the collective project consists of both a traveling exhibition and a publication generated solely by donations being released this month. The exhibition, An Atlas, opened at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) in September and will next travel to Chicago's Gallery 400 in November. A 2008 viewing is scheduled at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in NYC. Among the contributions, Brooklyn's always thrilling Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) explore the social network that makes up the 'garbage machine' in New York City while the Institute for Applied Autonomy (IAA) collective investigates the tactical cartography of modern surveillance. A boxed set of maps and essays, the independent publication pairs the 10 artists/collectives with a writer further examining the critical issues raised. At a time when so much political art is ineffectually solipsistic, an international project so integrated with localized activism is beyond invigorating.

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