Map Art: Alternative Visions of Globalisation

Simon Ferdinand | The use of cartography as the thematic and formal substance of artistic production has become increasingly prevalent amongst a very diverse set of visual artists over the last century. This project aims to establish the significance of this developing genre within the context of the ongoing theoretical debates over the nature, future trajectory and cultural implications of globalisation. Through the detailed analysis of carefully selected case studies, I propose to test the hypothesis that map art constitutes both a crucial register of the effects of globalisation upon culture and consciousness, and a privileged site for cultural responses to it.

Arising out of my own desire to bring many of the themes of my previous work to bear on a topic with a strong contemporary resonance, the project’s prime contribution to the nascent scholarship of map art will be to foreground globalisation, which purports to be a decisive historical and conceptual frame. In so doing, the proposed study will position itself both within and against the fragmented but rapidly developing discourse about map art. In particular, I am concerned to augment the conception of map art as a postmodernist disavowal of the authority of cartography by emphasising the ways in which artists have actively embraced its potential, especially as a way of grappling with the violence of globalisation and envisioning possible alternatives.

Supervisor | Esther Peeren