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Counter Mapping

Showing on

A visual art exhibit to accompany the performance City of Dreams

January 18 – 29, 2011
Roundhouse Arts and Recreation Centre
Gerry Thorne Exhibition Gallery

Exhibit opening January 18th at 5pm. Light refreshments will be served. This opening is free and open to the public.

Mon-Fri 9am – 10pm; Sat-Sun 9am-5pm


Presented with Urban Crawl

Vincent Andrisani, Jordan Bent, Aja Rose Bond, Nathan Clarkson, Natalie Doonan, Milena Droumeva, Jamie Hilder, Eli Horn, M. Simon Levin, Jason Levis, Gabriel Mindel, David Murphy, Ruth Scheuing, Jennifer Schine, Matt Smith, Katherine Somody, Jay White.

Jonathan Amodeo, Joanne Chan, Asha Congdon, Savannah Kuchera, Jainy Lastoria, Cindy Leibel, Zoe Liu, Laura McKillop, Solana Rompre, Caitlin Sinclair, Yi Xin Tong, Abigail Torrijos, Menelaine Valencia, Shelly Wang, Risa Yamaguchi.

Image shown above by Ruth Scheuing


Counter Mapping
Curated by Caleb Johnston

From the Mercator projection to Global Positioning Systems, maps have long remained the language of power. In Counter Mapping, we push back against this history. This exhibition began with a question: if maps are the instruments of power, how might we produce and circulate a poetic, even, radical cartography? I was keen to keep this theme wide open. I am less interested in offering a definitive model (even if one were possible) of what a counter mapping might look like, as I am in artists’ individual interpretations. I am motivated by the desire to appropriate mapping technologies and disrupt the authority of the gridiron to flatten and deaden the complex social worlds of Vancouver. The resulting collection is as varied as it is innovative. Working across disciplines, artists deploy a range of tactics in their rewriting of the urban landscape. In Counter Mapping, we move from tracking individual lines of inquiry through GPS to impersonating tour guides in offering alternative histories of the city. We work from animating walking as a creative process and means of urban navigation to restaging the archive to publicize the private. From acoustic ecology to staged spatial disruptions, assembled works tender sensory narratives that constitute this unwieldy entity that we collective know as Vancouver.

In this exhibition, we rewrite the urban and take seriously how the city is performed, reproduced and contested. Engaging the city, we transgress any easy boundary separating art, politics, territory, and everyday practices. It is from this well that Counter Mapping springs. We redraw maps to disrupt the notion that the city can ever be understood as a totality.  Our work mirrors the insight of theorist Fredric Jameson who calls for ‘cognitive mapping’, by which he means the need to grow new sensory organs to trace the existential journey of the traveler in an increasingly un-mappable world. We trace maps to get lost in the city, to descend into and experiment with new ways of moving through the urban landscape, and to reinsert the human body within the clean lines of Euclidean geometry. In doing so, we enter into the struggle to define the urban in a time and place where access to the city narrows, be that through the hardening of surveillance systems, the proliferation of private consumption, or the greater enclosure of public territory.

We invite you into our counter mapping.

Click here to download the Counter Mapping Exhibition Brochure


Soundscape Vancouver
Vincent Andrisani
Nathan Clarkson
Milena Droumeva
Jason Levis
David Murphy
Jennifer Schine

Scratch Map
Jordan Bent and Eli Horn

Tracking Trains of Thought: a work in many movements
Natalie Doonan and Katherine Somody

Paths and Places
Downtown Ambassador
Jamie Hilder

In Between

M. Simon Levin

5 Moons Before the Riot

Gabriel Saloman and Aja Rose Bond

GPS tracks
Ruth Scheuing

Matt Smith

Jay White

The Breakfast Series, 2010
Joanne Chan
Asha Congdon

Jainy Lastoria

Cindy Leibel
Jonathan Amodeo

This is Real, 2010
Zoe Liu

Untitled (Delta Fraser Property)
Laura McKillop

Solana Rompré
Caitlin Sinclair

Yi Xin Tong

L’art du Déplacement
Menelaine Valencia
Abigail Torrijos

Shelly Wang (Xiaobo)

G/T-shirts series (Vancouver)
Risa Yamaguchi
Savannah Kuchera


Supported by the City of Vancouver, the British Columbia Arts Council, Koerner Foundation, Hamber Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, and Simon Fraser University.