This past weekend, Barcelona-based artist Liz Kueneke offered a cloth map of Manhattan to passing downtown crowds, inviting them to sew, as roads and icons, their daily routes and personal events onto what amounted to a communal quilt. This may sound quaint in the age of Google Maps, and the legion of amateur cartographers it has created, but such a project would not exist without Google: people's lived landmarks were seldom considered of interest prior to online mapping. The implied value is that our interior, local maps are as worthy as the Mercator.
Kueneke's map, "Manhattan's Urban Fabric," formed a fraction of the cartography, art, talks, performances, and "situations" included in this year's Conflux, the sole arts festival devoted to psychogeography. (Conflux was at one time categorical about its subject, and was called the Psy.Geo.Conflux, but the affixes have since been dropped.) "Psychogeography" -- still a nebulous term that proceeds unrecognized by the standard dictionaries -- here encompasses a great scope of projects, from futurist utopianism and street art to anarchist rhetoric and Situationist homage. With over four hundred submissions, it is not surprising that one of the curators described the selection process as "chaotic." Another divided the works at the festival broadly into categories which either "read" or "wrote" the city, and further, into analog or digital creations.