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Cartographies of the Future: Julie Mehretu’s Dynamic Charting of Fluid Spaces


Ljungberg, Christina (2009). Cartographies of the Future: Julie Mehretu’s Dynamic Charting of Fluid Spaces. The Cartographic Journal, 46(4):308-315.

Abstract

If maps make meaning by locating us as agents in the world, the dynamic cartographies by the Ethiopian-American
painter Julie Mehretu suggest the extent to which the modern project has given way to fragmented social identities and thus to new kinds of spatial awareness. Such excentric space is shot through with other spaces functioning in relation to and interaction with other spaces. In addition, these new spaces both produce and are produced by our active and continuous interchanges with sophisticated technologies in real time and virtual time, which themselves constitute spaces that are unbounded, heterogeneous and fluid, making spatial orientation indeterminate and jagged, ruled by chance and contingency. How can such territories be mapped? What do these cartographies of the future tell us about our present technosocial world? What relationship between the map and its territory do they suggest? That is what this contribution discusses by examining Mehretu’s high-velocity urban charts which not only embody these indeterminate, jagged and indeed chaotic facets of spatial orientation and situatedness. Despite their bleakness and the uncertain future emerging from these hybrid fragmented maps, the stor(ies) they tell suggest poetic ways for agents to create new sensibilities and sensualities that do not rely on consumerism or consumption but evoke the potential for collective action and social change.

If maps make meaning by locating us as agents in the world, the dynamic cartographies by the Ethiopian-American
painter Julie Mehretu suggest the extent to which the modern project has given way to fragmented social identities and thus to new kinds of spatial awareness. Such excentric space is shot through with other spaces functioning in relation to and interaction with other spaces. In addition, these new spaces both produce and are produced by our active and continuous interchanges with sophisticated technologies in real time and virtual time, which themselves constitute spaces that are unbounded, heterogeneous and fluid, making spatial orientation indeterminate and jagged, ruled by chance and contingency. How can such territories be mapped? What do these cartographies of the future tell us about our present technosocial world? What relationship between the map and its territory do they suggest? That is what this contribution discusses by examining Mehretu’s high-velocity urban charts which not only embody these indeterminate, jagged and indeed chaotic facets of spatial orientation and situatedness. Despite their bleakness and the uncertain future emerging from these hybrid fragmented maps, the stor(ies) they tell suggest poetic ways for agents to create new sensibilities and sensualities that do not rely on consumerism or consumption but evoke the potential for collective action and social change.

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1 citation in Web of Science®
3 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Uncontrolled Keywords:cartographic art, cognition, psychogeography, diagrams, hybridity, fragmentation, technosocial spaces, multidimensionality
Language:English
Date:November 2009
Deposited On:02 Feb 2010 11:10
Last Modified:06 Jun 2016 07:48
Publisher:Maney Publishing
ISSN:0008-7041
Additional Information:Copyright: Maney Publishing
Publisher DOI:10.1179/000870409X12538748663496
Official URL:http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/maney/caj
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-25280

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