Monday, December 3, 2007

Urban Affairs at the Festival of Maps

Up in Sweet Home Chicago for the Festival of Maps (which continues into next year). Though I went for some antiquarian and historic maps at the Newberry Library, Chicago Historical Society, and Art Institute, I made a special effort to look at shows that dealt with mapping urban affairs as I do a bit of this here at Daytonology.

Starting with the UIC archives and special collections:

Under Study: Maps and Photographs of Chicago’s Near West Side.

“Chicago's West Side has early-20th-century roots as the home of immigrants and laborers. This exhibition displays documentary photographs and maps—including some drawn up by Jane Addams' Hull House—to shed light on the urban planning of the low-income community, and how it's changed over the years.”

A smallish exhibit space (a corner of the archives research room), but very rich in artifices, including early real estate and fire insurance maps (from before the Great Fire, in the table cases), the famous Hull House maps, plus more recent things like a WPA block study and this big map from a tour guide of the 30’s or 40’s (?), showing certain social areas (to the left is a small map of Chicago crime gangs of the 1920s).
Nearby (but on a different day), Gallery 401, part of UIC’s Center for Urban and Public Affairs (and their architecture/planning school), located in a loft district across the Eisenhower Expressway from the main campus (but easy to get to via the L, for...

Radical Cartography.

This was a fascinating show. Entitled “an Atlas of Radical Cartography”, which is a merging of graphic design, social critique, cartography, and activism. Somewhat related to the concept of “critical spatial practice

(one can see next to the text box a map of extraordinary renditions, by Trevor Paglen, who does a lot of work on clandestine ops and the Black World. I would love to see him show in this area give his subject matter, but no exhibition space would have the balls to show it (well, maybe CAC in Cincinnati or the Wexner).

Below, a map of surveillance camera coverage on Manhattan (for activists/protestors to use to plan their routes) and a very colorful process diagram of the impact of neoliberal economics on various things..

Then this excellent little project on Chicago by the activist group AREA Chicago. Sort of a critical/political approach to cognitive mapping….
….leading to a proposed “Peoples’ Atlas of Chicago”:

Next, a quick trip that turned out not to be to MOCA.

Yes, the sign says rock and roll and art; naturally one could easily get sidetracked in that show, given some rare bits (like early Velvet Underground shows filmed by Warhol), original artwork for Funkadelic, a great Detroit room, and some artifacts from Throbbing Gristle and the Manchester scene. A mix of film, video, art music, and environmental pieces.

Again, another show we would never see in Dayton (would we want to?), but could see at the Wexner or CAC, if it travels

...but I really came for:

Mapping the Self

“….the map - an image associated with information - is increasingly becoming a means of expression for artists to organize and disseminate information. This exhibition surveys the recent resurgence in map making and includes a variety of media including photography, drawing, video, and sound.

Since maps can communicate highly complex ideas such as issues of identity, politics, and culture, they increasingly serve as a medium for artists to address socioeconomic and geopolitical issues. In addition, through combinations of traditional maps and high tech mapping systems, the medium allows for a contemporaneous understanding of one's spatial and temporal place in the world on a personal, local, and global level. The exhibition explores how artists use the medium of maps to decode and re-encode information as a means for personal exploration, artistic expression, communication, and social change.”
In other words, an expanded version of that Radical Cartography show, but also with some more personal, non-ideological interpretations by conceptual artists like Vito Acconci. Where blog has a good review of the show (no pix because the camera was in coat check)

Finally, at the Chicago Historical Society

Mapping Chicago

A small collection of, in some cases, very large maps and aerial scenes, including a monster aeriel view from the 1850s, which one can just see through the door in the above pix.

The Chicago Historical Society has no compunctions about showing the bad with the good, as there was a period map of deaths and injury, by race, for the great race riot of 1919, and this little exhibit on racial change in the city and redlining (that study would be interesting reading, and I wonder if something like this exists for Dayton?)

More commentary on aspects of the Windy City later in the week.


Admin said...

and the program for the rock exhibit is $50 but might be worth it since it includes an essay by Richard Hell of the Voidoids

Jefferey said...

You are a music fan?

That show was a lot of fun and had some interesting bits.

There was a scene in 24 Hour Party People about the New Order album cover (or was it the single cover) and how it cost so much..well, the art show had the original artwork and design notes for the sleeve and a mock-up.

Admin said...

Is this the cover you are talking about?

Jefferey said...

For some reason the link doesn't work, but it was Power, Corruption, & Lies.

Admin said...

This site has some interesting maps of Boston and NYC. FYI