Experimental Geography

Experimental Geography

Curated by Nato Thompson

The manifestations of “experimental geography” (a term coined by geographer Trevor Paglen in 2002) run the gamut of contemporary art practice today: sewn cloth cities that spill out of suitcases, bus tours through water treatment centers, performers climbing up the sides of buildings, and sound works capturing the buzz of electric waves on the power grid. In the hands of contemporary artists, the study of humanity’s engagement with the earth’s surface becomes a riddle best solved in experimental fashion. The exhibition presents a panoptic view of this new practice, through a wide range of mediums including sound and video installations, photography, sculpture, and experimental cartography.

The approaches used by the artists featured in Experimental Geography range from the poetic to the empirical. The more pragmatic techniques include those used by the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) in projects made with students and other non-art groups that aim to strengthen peoples’ roles as agents of change in their own environments. See, for example, their map intended to help longshoremen and truckers identify chokepoints in the cargo trade network. In their similarly empirical projects, the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), a research organization, examines the nature and extent of human interaction with the earth’s surface. CLUI embraces a multidisciplinary approach that forces a reading of the American landscape (such as the disfiguring effects of culling natural resources from the picturesque banks of the Hudson River), thereby refamiliarizing viewers with the overlooked details of their everyday experience.

Experimental Geography is curated by Nato Thompson, curator at Creative Time in New York. It is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, co-published by ICI and Melville House, that includes essays by Thompson, Jeffrey Kastner, and Trevor Paglen.


Purchase the catalogue at our shop.

Francis Alÿs, The Making of Lima, 2002

Artists

Francis Alÿs, AREA Chicago, The Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), e-Xplo, Ilana Halperin, kanarinka (Catherine D’lgnazio), Julia Meltzer and David Thorne, Lize Mogel, Multiplicity, Trevor Paglen, Raqs Media Collective, Ellen Rothenberg, Spurse, Deborah Stratman, Daniel Tucker, Alex Villar, Yin Xiuzhen

Additional Images

Trevor Paglen

kanarinka (Catherine D’Ignazio), It Takes 154,000 Breaths to Evacuate Boston, 2007

The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), The Cargo Chain, 2008

Touring Schedule

AVAILABLE

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April 22, 2011 - December 31, 2011

Freeman Art Gallery, Bishop’s University

Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada
January 21, 2011 - April 1, 2011

Museum London

London, Ontario, Canada
October 9, 2010 - January 2, 2011

The James Gallery, The Graduate Center at CUNY

New York, New York
June 24, 2010 - August 27, 2010

The Colby College Museum of Art

Waterville, Maine
February 21, 2010 - May 30, 2010

Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
October 10, 2009 - January 30, 2010

The Albuquerque Museum

Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 28, 2009 - September 20, 2009

Rochester Art Center

Rochester, Minnesota
February 7, 2009 - April 18, 2009

Richard E. Peeler Art Center, DePauw University

Greencastle, Indiana
September 19, 2008 - December 2, 2008

Technical Specs

For Educators