Radical Approaches to Landscape, Cartography, and Urbanism
Publication Date: January 13, 2009
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A photo of a secret CIA prison. A map designed to help visitors reach Malibu’s notoriously inaccessible public beaches. Guidebooks to factories, prisons, and power plants in upstate New York. An artificial reef fabricated from 500 tons of industrial waste. These are some of the more than one hundred projects represented in Experimental Geography, a groundbreaking
collection of visual research and mapmaking from the past ten years.
Experimental Geography explores the distinctions between geographical study and artistic experience of the earth, as well as the juncture where the two realms collide (and possibly make a new field altogether). This lavishly illustrated book features more than a dozen maps; artwork by Francis Alÿs, Alex Villar, and Yin Xiuzhen; and recent projects by The Center for Land Use Interpretation, the Raqs Media Collective, and the Center for Urban Pedagogy.
The collection is framed by essays by bestselling author Trevor Paglen, Jeffrey Kastner, and editor Nato Thompson.
Nato Thompson is a writer and curator at Creative Time, one of New York’s most prestigious public art organizations. He is the editor of The Interventionists: A Users’ Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life, a survey of political art of the 1990s, and Ahistoric Occasion: Artists Making History. He recently produced Paul Chan’s acclaimed Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, which included free public performances of Samuel Beckett’s play, theater workshops, educational seminars, and more.
“What could be more delightful--and unsettling--than turning loose a group of contemporary surrealists, disguised as vagabonds and artists, in the ripe fields of the hyper-real? Experimental Geography isn’t about space; it is about terminal strangeness.”
--Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear
"Living in cities, we need a new way to think about how we move and what we notice... This strange, exciting book offers just that--a new way to notice public space. It is the brainchild of Nato Thompson: the results of his fascinations with urban planning post-Katrina, abandoned or unnoticed urban landscapes and public art."
--Susan Salter Reynold, Los Angeles Times
"We know that a book touting 'radical approaches to cartography' may not set your pulse racing, but the playful and probing diagrams in Experimental Geography--including a map of the last half-century of arms trades that scribbles out just about the entire globe--ought to at least get your mind melting."
--Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago