Mapping is a military reconnaissance mission and a map is a logistical system and potentially, a weapon. The map, the plan, is a birds-eye-view of the city, while the person navigating its innards has a very different, rather more messy experience. Even attempting to trace that journey is just one personal story among the crushing throngs of lives that pass each other everyday. As the attempts of the late twentieth-century ‘psychogeographers’ showed—to whom, not unsurprisingly, many of the exhibitors in Mapping the City owe differing degrees of inspiration—trying to systematise the ground-level experience of urban life into a scientific and objective approach is to create overly confident, artificial categorisations and silence the ongoing narrative of sleepless cities.
Hannah Newell is a writer and editor living in London who recently graduated from the Critical Writing in Art and Design MA programme at the Royal College of Art. Her research interests include the merger between art and work, D.I.Y culture, the development of cultural policy and its focus on social instrumentalism. Currently she is working on a body of writing that considers the topical debate surrounding the idea of 'cultural value' in relation to the ethos of arts organisations and artists as organisers.
Hello! And welcome to the new ArtSelector, a dedicated review website. We go live with our first reviews today, a selection of current exhibitions in London where we, the writers, are based. As you can read on our About page, until 2013 ArtSelector was a free, online network for artists—a…
Apocryphal binds of creation and destruction appear thematically throughout the exhibition and yet, as in Vidya Gastaldon’s work, these binaries are subsumed by an overpowering ambivalence between them, like the entangled symmetry of Andy Harper’s painting or the tragic birth of a volcano that forms the world: the dualism of beauty and decadence, life and death, utopia and dystopia, the sardonic or knowingly cliché, and a true, mystical sincerity. Ambiguity trickles down the inside of this re-purposed, post-industrial pillar like good-natured laughter.