Mapping Kassel

April 18–22, 2016

…In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

—Suarez Miranda, Viajes devarones prudentes, Libro IV, Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658
(Jorge Luis Borges, “On Exactitude in Science”)

During a week of “orientation” in mid-April 2016, aneducation moves through the city of Kassel together with colleagues, invited artists, student groups, and special guides. From the subterranean to the street level, architecture to cloud formations, the layers of the city are encountered through the eyes, ears, and feet of the group. The program includes walks, exercises, readings, and discussion around the im/possibilities of “mapping” these respective contexts at a 1:1 scale. A preparatory workshop is also held with students of the Kunsthochschule and Universität Kassel, to critically analyze the practice of “cartography” and its disciplinary baggage, recognizing the desire for other forms of legibility and literacy, forms which involve not just the eye, but the whole body. The findings, conversations and “data” which emerge during the week are then treated to a secondary reading by a guest cartographer, who produces an inhabitable map, a Portable Document Format.

René Rogge, Portable Document Format (2016), notebooks and transparencies, photo: René Rogge

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