A new show my PVI Collective (the group discussed in one of your readings for this week), Blackmarket’, opens in Sydney on 27 May, presented by Performance Space. In preparation for working on the island, I recommend you go do it as a group!

Blackmarket is… “a participatory site-specific work that takes place on the streets of our city at night. Part roaming artwork, part real-life video game, blackmarket invites you into a dark underworld of unlicensed street selling and entrepreneurial trading.”

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Ons of the many contemporary artists working with maps was US-born Marc Lombardi, who charted meticulously-researched relations of power and capital in his drawings. You can see a good number of them here, and also listen to this short piece from NPR about why, a few weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks, an FBI agent asked to see his exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art before it opened here.

“The most alluring part of a map is that which is unmappable”. [from the blog Invisible Stories]

A great post here about maps, old and new, on the blog of visual artist Sara Graham.

Tonight! Just around the corner from UTS!
(Opening 6-8pm at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 181-187 Hay Street, Sydney)

MASS GROUP INCIDENT is a major five-month project curated and produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Between 17 January – 31 May 2015, a multi-stage program of exhibitions, site-specific projects, performances, film screenings and public programs will be presented at 4A’s galleries in Sydney’s Chinatown district and a number of off-site locations.

Bringing together artists from Australia, Asia and Europe, MASS GROUP INCIDENT explores ideas of social engagement and collective action through the ever-shifting and complex position of the individual in relation to the group. From the fervour of the dissenting drive in the struggle for a different world, through to the sober realities of expediency and complicity, contemporary ideas and expressions of collective action resonate across history and geographies in ways that have profound implications for our present and our futures.”

Today on the blog we look at a range of people carrying out their own exploratory research into the edibility of their cities, and then visualising and communicating those discoveries in the form of a publicly available map..

> A community-generated local food map for a specific region in Victoria.

> This wild food app by local artist and wild foods advocate Diego Bonetto. You can add to the map too.

> Keg de Souza’s collaboratively-produced food map of Otara in South Auckland (this many of you have already seen in class)

> and… Fallen Fruit, a collective from Los Angeles whose practice includes producing maps of ‘public fruit’ (fruit growing on street trees or publicly accessible parts of a neighbourhood) in various parts of the world. This is a good example of the kind of nomadic global art practice that Miwon Kwon discusses in ‘One Place After Another’, where a particular idea or methodology is applied iteratively in different locations.

How would you map the food stories in your own neighbourhood?

The work of Constant Nieuwenhuys, New Babylon was a fantastic vision of a new city overlaid above the existing city, much like some of the places described in Invisible Cities. Constant was part of the Situationist International for some time, and New Babylon spatialised and made concrete many of the Situationist ideas around revolutionary socialism and the transformative potential of emotion and play over work and rationalism. [Many more pics if you follow the link and scroll down]

Architect and theorist Lebbeus Woods has this to say:

New Babylon was inspired by and contributed to the work of the Situationists, a group of intellectuals, theorists and writers, as well as artists who were anything but Modernists in the classic capitalist mold. They were inspired by the irrational forms and practices of Dada and Surrealism, and were what we could call neo-Marxists, meaning inspired by Marx’s vision of revolutionary socialism but seeking to use the capitalist system to achieve their ends. Guy Debord and others invented tactics such as derive, psychogeographie, and detournment, which seized upon, then subverted, capitalist notions in order to develop radical ways of living that were meant to culminate in revolution (Archigram first heard of these through Constant’s lecture, no doubt). Constant joined the Situationists early on and became their architect, much the same as Antonio Sant’Elia had done with the Futurists, half a century before. The spaces of New Babylon were intended to be spaces of disorientation and of reorientation, from rational, functionalist society to one that is liberated and self-inventing. It was meant to replace capitalist exploitation of human labor and emotion with anarchist celebration of them.  Its architecture was to provide a complex armature on which could be woven endlessly new, unpredictably personal urban experiences, determined by ever-changing individual desires. In the end, however, the architecture of the New Babylon seemed to overwhelm such playful, radical spontaneity by its sheer weight and monumental scale.