Maps orientate and determine the ways in which we perceive and understand the world and our place in it. Maps reveal and illuminate, but they also conceal and obfuscate. This year’s digital exhibition for FLEFF, Map Open Space, focuses on ways that mapping can be mobilized towards the concept of “open space.” Rather than defining and dividing, Map Open Space engages with technologies of mapping that act as radical cartography and radical historiography to invite new participation and facilitate new questions. By enlisting perspectives that often pass ignored or unrecognized, Map Open Space explores the interfaces and intervals of the digital, abstract, and immaterial with the localized, materialized, and grounded. Our selection for this year’s exhibition makes use of mapping in both practical and conceptual ways.
Map Open Space marks the first digital exhibition for FLEFF with a jury, and it also marks the first digital exhibition for FLEFF to award prizes. Our jury, consisting of Babak Fakhamzadeh, Ismail Farouk, and Christina McPhee, was unanimous in its decision to award the Jury Prize to Carlos Motta’s La Buena Vida for its exhaustiveness in giving voice to the disenfranchised by global politics. As McPhee notes, La Buena Vida is “both topographic and topologic; a huge resource of conceptual cartography that has spatial and political depth of field.” La Buena Vida is a database of perceptions on U.S. interventions into Latin American democratization from the streets of a dozen different cities. It maps the contours of these unsettled political, social, and historical debates without containing them as a defined and definable object of study.
Given the richness and diversity of the submissions this year, we awarded prizes as curators in the three areas. For the Curators’ Prize for Concept, we selected Gebhard Sengmüller’s Farm Animal Drawing Generator, which is exemplary of the use of GPS in digital mapping, rendering the movement of farm animals as abstract satellite imaging. Sharon Daniel’s Blood Sugar is an accomplished and beautifully designed project that tracks the biological and social dimensions of drug addiction to which we award the Curators’ Prize for Design. For the sheer audacity of their provocative and Situationist-inspired détournement of GoogleMaps, we award JODI, net-art guerilla warriors par excellence, the Curators’ Prize for Disruption for GeoGoo!
We hope you enjoy the exhibition as much as we have selecting it. In addition to the other works selected for the Map Open Space exhibition, we include a special “bookmark for future!” selection. Do look out for them!