Apamar. Charts, metrics and policies of space
Mona Fawaz/Ahmad Gharbieh/Mona Harb, Sarah Nelson Wright, Torolab, Isaki Lacuesta / Isa Campo, Stalker/Primavera Romana, Guifi.net, Hackitectura.net, Iconoclasistas
24.03.2011 – 04.06.2011
Opening: 24.03.2011 at 19,30h
Place: ACVic. Sant Francesc,1. Vic (Barcelona)
Apamar. Charts, metrics and policies of space brings together a selection of proposals that intervene in the city through artistic practices,architecture, design or activism. The projects intersect through proposing alternatives to the representation of space, its interpretation and how to live in it. In some cases they reveal latent conflict situations in the territory by generating maps and interpreting them. In others, they relate to self-managed social processes that activate collective strategies, by creating networks and seeking alternative systems for the citizens.
“Apamar” means to measure a field but also to know something very well. Measuring with one’s palms and being in control of a circumstance or situation supposes a subjective knowledge about the context. The exploration of the territory, critical cartography, the selection and display of data, processing of information or collective creation are issues that relate to subjectivity and socialization of space.
The participating projects in the exhibition, some finished while others still in process, work with the many underlying qualities of geographical maps. Experimenting with this seemingly conventional medium, while staying faithful to some of its main attributes such as accuracy, factuality and intentional objectivity, they create new models from a critical perspective and with the objective of proposing alternative strategies. They are born as a reaction to various situations that represent a need for reflection and active response, and they are materialized in various formats. Together,
they come forth as tools that are clearly political and serve for pointing out and making visible spaces in conflict situations; in some cases, they activate collective processes while experimenting with new strategies that allow citizens to intervene in the organization of social space.
In this sense, Beirut: Mapping Security by Mona Fawaz, Ahmad Gharbieh and Mona Harb, depicts the numerous types of security measures that have been established in municipal Beirut as a result to the armed conflicts the country has witnessed since the 70’s. Sara Nelson Wright’s visual mapping of six individuals’ travels in Brooklyn, Locations and Dislocation, is a reflection on the effects of gentrification and urban expansion. In LRPT (La región de los pantalones tranfronterizos), the Tijuana-based collective Torolab makes visible the transnational mobility of the inhabitants of the twin cities of Tijuana and San Diego. Isaki Lacuesta and Isa Campo visit Places that do not exist, and provide us with an account of the reality of these places that have desappeared from google earth for being protected areas. Geografie dell'Oltrecittà and Agroculture nomadi de Stalker/Primavera Romana are common design projects that generate and share social knowledge and awareness on urban changes, while Guifi.net in Catalunya, Mapeo Colectivo from Iconoclasistas in Buenos Aires and Mapping the Commons, Athens by Hackitectura.net all spur us into participation with the aim of creating common resources.
This exhibition is part of ACVic Centre d’Arts Contemporànies’ Expo Program, and is curated by Maral Mikirditsian, Ramon Parramon and Laia Solé.
Locations & Dislocation [Sarah Nelson Wright]
Place: New York
Locations & Dislocation is a project about moving. It creatively and subjectively describes the people who move from home to home in the urban environment, swept by the forces of the city and the ebbs and flows of life changes. The marks of their presence often vanish from each place they leave, replaced by new tenants and sometimes new buildings entirely. This energy of movement, both voluntary and forced, is a vital component of the contemporary urban landscape. The process of the project consisted of collecting an individual’s past and current addresses, the reasons for each move, such as: job, love, priced out, rats, light, band, adventure, safety, space, etc., mapping these moves, and then removing the map, leaving an abstract line drawing. The project searches for the poetry in this personal data, creating abstract biographies of a person as he or she moves through a city. It reveals the complexities that underlie a mobile population and excavates the choices and forces that shape an individual’s path, while providing abstract documentation and affirmation of people whose often untraceable presence is essential to the fabric of urban life.
LRPT (La región de los pantalones transfronterizos) [Torolab]
Place: Tijuana-San Diego
This essential piece within the Torolab project deals with trans-border identity, focusing on urban interactions that are negotiated in the environmental context through movement and dissemination. For this work, Torolab manufactured pants with various pockets whose true function is revealed when the garment is worn by a Mexican citizen: they feature secret compartments for a passport, electronic visa, cell phone, a camera, money, etc. When worn by a US citizen, the pants’ function changes drastically: since they do not require a passport to cross the border, they can use the pants to conceal meds like Zoloft or Viagra, while a credit card takes the place of the electronic visa, etc., turning the trans-border pants into a work of art but also into an urban ethnographic document. t the same time, the pants incorporate GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking devices, in order to document the trans-border region’s new cartography systems. Five individuals wore the pants and were followed for five days, while all the information about their movements was recorded through the GPS and logbooks.
The data was later taken to CAD and 3D programs, resulting in a topographic visualization of the vehicular movement synthesis and economic transactions, depending on the economic status of these five people.
Places that do not exist (Goggle Earth 1.0) [Isaki Lacuesta/Isa Campo]
Place: Various places
The project Places that do not exist is a series of snapshots and films of real spaces in Spain, Colombia, Ecuador and Russia, among others, that Google Earth does not display for being protected areas (military bases, training camps, government buildings, nudist beaches...) or for being subject to speculation. Isaki Lacuesta and Isa Campo visited these places that have “desappeared” from the map in order to document their reality. They have compiled various photos and films that claim the need to go on offering a human vision of our world, in order to recover a direct perspective of it, without deceitful intermediaries.
Geografie dell'Oltrecittà | AgroCulture Nomadi [Stalker/PrimaveraRomana]
Stalker proposes experimental strategies for intervention founded on exploratory spatial practices, using playful, convivial, and interactive tactics that relate to an environment, its inhabitants and their local culture. PrimaveraRomana is a common design project activated by Stalker in order to generate and share social knowledge and awareness on urban changes. This by sharing, with more and more people, the experience of walking across and mapping in common the changes of the contemporary roman post-urban territories. In the spring of 2009, the project proposes a series of itineraries in Oltrecittà, accompanied by various events. PrimaveraRomana also launches AgroCulture Nomadi, a project of collective harvest of public food products. On October 2010, in different places of the city many self-organized groups of people collected public olives. 300 kg came out of the first public harvest, meaning 32 liters of good oil, the Olio PU.RO. And in January 9, 2011, they organized the harvest of bitter oranges used to produce marmalade, to denounce the exploitation of African workers in agriculture in the south of Italy (Rosarno) a year ago.
Mapping the Commons, Athens [Hackitectura.net]
Athens, a global post-Fordist metropolis that is currently suffering an economic crisis and witnessing numerous social revolts on a regular basis. The city was the subject of a mapping workshop in which thirty people participated actively for more than a week. Among them were architects, activists, artists and filmmakers. Different strategies of collective mapping were used, based on visual language, free software and wikis, and parting from the hypothesis of building a new vision of the city. A city where there are numerous groups who lead a struggle against the state and capital, and a mobilization that creates common wealth and generates social life.
This vision has taken the form of a bird’s-eye view interactive video-map of the metropolis. Squatted and self-managed parks, digital platforms for sharing and reusing objects, street demonstrations, community wireless network with more than a thousand nodes open in the city, free software, P2P, parties claiming the free use of the streets… Various elements that constitute the potency of the commons of the city.
Beirut: Mapping Security [Mona Fawaz/Ahmad Gharbieh/Mona Harb]
Beirut – Mapping Security is an ongoing research work and a newspaper publication edited by Mona Fawaz, Ahmad Gharbieh and Mona Harb, developed and assembled within the international network DIWAN as part of a contribution to the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale 2009-10.
Armed conflict normalizes the presence of visible so-called security measures in the form of barricades, roadblocks or army personnel in the everyday life of the city. This is perhaps one of the legacies of the Lebanese civil war (1975–1990), the Israeli occupation of parts of South Lebanon (since 1978), and the ongoing Arab Israeli conflict that have all marked Lebanon’s recent history. In Beirut security associated with these conflicts, whether in the form of protecting key political figures and/or preventing inter-communal violence, has been a latent aspect of the cityscape, which heavily affects people’s everyday practices and movements. The recent development of a network of high-end shopping and entertainment facilities in Beirut has established a new layer of security, this time intended to protect the rich.
The aim of the project was to initiate a public debate about the normalization of security as an element of urban governance and how this new narrative of threats and fear profoundly alters everyday practices.
Mapeo Colectivo [Iconoclasistas, Julia Risler and Pablo Ares]
Place: Buenos Aires
Iconoclasistas’ Mapeo Colectivo is a fun and creative tool that facilitates the creation of a collective story, made visible by the confluence of the participants’ knowledge about a common medium. The workshops allow the realization of maps created through conversation and socialization of experiences, knowledge and opinions. Designed as instances of collective creation and open participation, they allow getting to know different realities through everyday memory and non-specialized knowledge, summarizing the information in a horizontal meeting space that develops knowledge in a process of engagement and exchange with others. One of the challenges of learning to reflect and view a territory (seen not only as a geographical space, but also a social, cultural and economical space) is the ability to distance oneself from it in order to uncover connections that not only give the tools to question rooted problems, but also provide clues to solve them. In this sense, mapping is conceived as a process in constant change, as a starting point ready to be picked up by others, as an adequate device for reflection and social change that builds knowledge, promoting collective organization and transformation.
Place: Various places
Guifi.net is an open, free and neutral telecommunications network that is consolidated through an interconnection agreement in which each participant extends the network and gets connected. It is an open network because the settings are made public so that anyone, any company or administration can see how the network is built, and therefore is able to improve it, maintain it and extend it. It is a free network because no one can impose restrictions such as limiting speed or performance. It is a neutral network when it comes to content. Within the network, one can move around any needed information. Through the networking of sites and Internet access, individuals, companies, administrations and operators who want to contribute with content, are all welcome. Guifi.net is based on the importance of creating open and neutral Networks using wireless technology or fiber optics, and its objective is the improvement of infrastructure for the benefit of all.
Imatges de l'exposició
Sarah Nelson Wright [New York] is a Brooklyn-based artist and educator from the San Francisco Bay Area. She creates interdisciplinary media projects about the urban experience that both explore the changing city and investigate avenues for intervention. Last fall, she created BROOKLYN MAKES, a site-specific video installation about manufacturing in North Brooklyn. Her work ranges from video to poetic design to interactive sculpture, with a focus on social engagement. She has recently exhibited in diverse NYC venues such as CONFLUX, The Center, PowerHouse ArtSpace, Art for Change and MoCADA, as well as in Mostra de Artes in San Paulo, Brazil. She holds a BA in American Studies from Yale and an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College, and teaches media at Hunter College, NYU Polytechnic and BRIC Media|Arts|Bklyn. [http://sarahnelsonwright.com]
Torolab [Tijuana] was founded in 1995 by Raúl Cárdenas Osuna in Tijuana BC, Mexico. It is a workshop / laboratory of contextual studies that identifies situations or phenomena of interest; the result of this research has to improve the quality of life of the people. The projects are carried out according to the skills of the participants and in collaboration with other artists and experts in the fields of study and research. The researched topics so far range from identity of the regions close to the borders, housing and safety in the creation of community and survival. Areas of interest are wide and varied as lifestyles and contexts. [http://www.torolab.org]
Isaki Lacuesta / Isa Campo. [Barcelona] The tandem Isa Campo - Isaki Lacuesta, screenwriter and director, respectively, have made the movie Los condenados (2009), Critics Award of the Festival de Cine de San Sebastián. They have also co-authored the documentary La noche que no acaba (2010), that premiered at the last edition of the San Sebastián festival, and Los pasos dobles, a feature film shot in Mali, together with the artist Miquel Barceló, to be released. In the artistic field, they have carried out the installations Luz Azul and Los cuerpos translúcidos (2008) both shown in Artium (Contemporary Art Museum of Vitoria) within the Framework of the exhibition Miradas al límite, the film-collage Una película de misterio (2003) presented at Sala Metrònom in Barcelona, and the installation "El retaule de les endevinacions" (Bòlit, Girona, 2010).
Stalker/Primavera Romana. [Roma] Stalker is a collective that carries out research and activities in the territory, with particular attention to marginal areas and vacant or abandoned urban spaces in transformation. These studies are carried out at various levels, around notions of practicality, representation and planning for these spaces they refer to as Current Territories. Stalker is multidisciplinary: a mentor, guide and artist of these territories, ready to confront the apparently unsolvable contradiction of preserving through abandonment, representing through sensorial perception, intervening within the unstable and mutable conditions of these places. [http://www.osservatorionomade.net]
Guifi.net [Vic]. Guifi.net is a free, open and neutral network of telecommunications, mostly wireless, with more than 18.100 nodes, of which 12.000 are operational. Most of these nodes are located in Catalonia, although new areas are opening up in the Iberian Peninsula. The nodes of the network are individuals, companies and administrations that connect freely in order to have access to a truly open network of telecommunications and make it accessible to places that lack the proper infrastructure. The different nodes join a network where the infrastructure is deliberately open in order to facilitate the understanding of its structure, to evaluate the performance of its different sections and so that each participant can create new sections that are necessary. [http://www.guifi.net]
Hackitectura.net [Sevilla]. Collective of architects, artists, computer scientists and activists, dedicated to the research and visualization of emerging territories between physical spaces and social and communication dynamics of the network. Founded by Pablo de Soto, Sergio Moreno and José Pérez de Lama, the collective collaborates regularly with other groups and projects dedicated to the exploration of emerging political, social, economical and cultural mappings in particular geographical areas, in order to intervene through the creation of new architectures of communication. [http://www.hackitectura.net]
Mona Fawaz [Beirut]. Associate Professor in Urban Studies and Planning at the American University of Beirut. Her research investigates the modalities in which low-income urban dwellers participate in making the city. It addresses these issues through two main tracks: the contemporary and historical production of affordable neighborhoods in the city’s peripheries and the ways in which low-income urban dwellers negotiate large-scale planning interventions.
Mona Harb [Beirut]. Associate professor in urban studies and political science at the American University of Beirut. Her research investigates the politics of public action and urban management. More recently, she is investigating the geographies of moral leisure in Beirut. She is the author of Le Hezbollah à Beyrouth (1985-2000): de la banlieue à la ville, (IFPO-Karthala, 2010).
Ahmad Gharbieh [Beirut]. Associate Creative Director at Mind the gap design and communication agency. He teaches at the Department of Architecture and Design at the American University of Beirut. He specializes in mapping design and theory.
Iconoclasistas [Buenos Aires]. Collective that activates forms of questioning symbolical and ideological hegemony by generating creative strategies of resistance; strategies that are liberated of the limits imposed by the privatization of knowledge. The collective’s projects are established as a laboratory of communication and resources in network, where communication practices are activated as an alternative to the symbolical and ideological hegemony of capitalism. [http://www.iconoclasistas.com.ar]