The history of mapping is as old as humankind. The human need to know and appropriate it’s territory by drawing its limits has been essential for the development of nations and countries, but more than this, to satisfy the need of pertenence into a community. Following this main idea, there is a current exhibition at Caixa Forum Barcelona called Contemporary Cartographies. Drawing Thought.
We can read a brief description about it:
We map our world in order to gain a glimpse of the reality in which we live. Since time immemorial, maps have been used to represent, translate and encode all kinds of physical, mental and emotional territories. Our representation of the world has evolved in recent centuries and, today, with globalisation and the Internet, traditional concepts of time and space, along with methods for representing the world and knowledge, have been definitively transformed. In response to this paradigm shift, contemporary artists question systems of representation and suggest new formulas for classifying reality.
We know about the existence of ancient cartographic maps dated from 6,000 B.C. that have evolved until the current times by using different tools for it’s survey and representation.
The idea of time and space is also inherent to the concept of mapping. It is possible to draw a territory based on its spatial and temporary representation. As the curators pointed on the exhibition text:
The idea of space, which shaped European knowledge, has impregnated all the realms of our thought. We speak of personal, public, symbolic and many other types of spaces. Space is, today, the metaphor that is most often repeated in our discourses. This is, no doubt, because we feel that, through space, we free ourselves from the linear nature of language and writing. In it, thought finds expression for its plurality and dynamism.
We want to end by quoting Foucault when he wrote “I believe that between utopias and these quite other sites, these heterotopias, there might be a sort of mixed, joint experience, which would be the mirror. The mirror is, after all, a utopia, since it is a placeless place.”