New on Ballardian, a feature on films by Paul Williams, made in Abu Dhabi. Inspired by the fiction of Ballard and the films of Tarkovsky, among others, Williams records the collision between the architecture of western capitalist culture and the traditional beliefs of Islam. The films are short, powerful, evocative and haunting, a twenty first century psychogeography in image and sound.
Pratt Manhattan Gallery will present "You Are Here → Mapping the Psychogeography of New York City," an exhibition of work by a selection of contemporary artists that will map the emotional terrain of the world's most famous and influential urban center, New York City, and explore the effect of the city's powerful moods on those who live and work here. "You Are Here" will run from September 24 through November 6, 2010, and will be celebrated with an opening reception on Thursday, September 23 from 6–8 PM. The exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public.
Contributing artists—some New Yorkers, others not—were invited to use inventive cartographic concepts to reflect the city's abundant, colliding moods. The resulting projects reveal a range of reactions to the city's heightened levels of stimulus, some energizing (discovery, delight, amusement, ambition, solidarity) and others melancholic (longing, loss, vulnerability, anxiety, isolation).
"You Are Here" is guest-curated by Katharine Harmon, author of The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009) and You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003).
"The exhibition features artworks and conceptual projects that map a frenzied cityscape," Harmon explains. "I like wondering whether the world's most adrenalized and artistic city elicits more emotional responses than others. Mapping is an intriguing way to approach the question, especially at a time when artists are using mapping concepts in such ingenious ways," she added.
Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by theorist Guy Debord as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals." Another definition is "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities...just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape."
Works created specifically for "You Are Here" include:
• a three-dimensional map of the lower Manhattan skyline made of a Jell-O-like material by Liz Hickok
• an anxiety map of the five boroughs lit by sweat-powered batteries by Daniela Kostova and Olivia Robinson
• a "Loneliness Map" from Craigslist's Missed Connections by Ingrid Burrington
• a scratch-and-sniff map of New Yorkers' smell preferences by Nicola Twilley
• a cemetery map of Polish ancestors' graves by Kim Baranowski
• an installation constructed from city ephemera by Pratt faculty member Robbin Ami Silverberg
• personal maps created from a call for submissions by the Hand Drawn Map Association including works by Tony Dowler, Will Haughery, Janine Nichols, Yumi Roth, Gowri Savoor, Rob Servo, Krista Shaffer, Kees Touw, Dean Valadez, and Shane Watt
• a series of mapped reflections on the extinction of the passenger pigeon and the ascendancy of the rock dove by Miranda Maher
• a New York subway map in Urdu by Pakistani artist Asma Ahmed Shikoh
• photographs of a buzzing honeycomb map created by Liz Scranton's bees
“You Are Here → Mapping the Psychogeography of New York City”
September 24 – November 6, 2010
Pratt Manhattan Gallery
144 West 14th Street, 2nd Floor