Pratt Manhattan Gallery presents exhibition that maps the psychogeography of New York City
Pratt Institute
Above: Liz Hickock
Fugitive Topography: Jelly NYC, 2010, detail
Above: Liz Hickock
Fugitive Topography: Jelly NYC, 2010, detail

“You Are Here → Mapping the Psychogeography of New York City”
September 24 – November 6, 2010

Pratt Manhattan Gallery
144 West 14th Street, 2nd Floor

Contributing artists—some New Yorkers, others not—were invited to use inventive cartographic concepts to reflect the city’s abundant, colliding moods. The resulting projects reveal a range of reactions to the city’s heightened levels of stimulus, some energizing (discovery, delight, amusement, ambition, solidarity) and others melancholic (longing, loss, vulnerability, anxiety, isolation).

“You Are Here” is guest-curated by Katharine Harmon, author of The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009) and You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003).

“The exhibition features artworks and conceptual projects that map a frenzied cityscape,” Harmon explains. “I like wondering whether the world’s most adrenalized and artistic city elicits more emotional responses than others. Mapping is an intriguing way to approach the question, especially at a time when artists are using mapping concepts in such ingenious ways,” she added.

Psychogeography was defined in 1955 by theorist Guy Debord as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.” Another definition is “a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities…just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.”

Works created specifically for “You Are Here” include:

• a three-dimensional map of the lower Manhattan skyline made of a Jell-O-like material by Liz Hickok
• an anxiety map of the five boroughs lit by sweat-powered batteries by Daniela Kostova and Olivia Robinson
• a “Loneliness Map” from Craigslist’s Missed Connections by Ingrid Burrington
• a scratch-and-sniff map of New Yorkers’ smell preferences by Nicola Twilley
• a cemetery map of Polish ancestors’ graves by Kim Baranowski
• an installation constructed from city ephemera by Pratt faculty member Robbin Ami Silverberg
• personal maps created from a call for submissions by the Hand Drawn Map Association including works by Tony Dowler, Will Haughery, Janine Nichols, Yumi Roth, Gowri Savoor, Rob Servo, Krista Shaffer, Kees Touw, Dean Valadez, and Shane Watt
• a series of mapped reflections on the extinction of the passenger pigeon and the ascendancy of the rock dove by Miranda Maher
• a New York subway map in Urdu by Pakistani artist Asma Ahmed Shikoh
• photographs of a buzzing honeycomb map created by Liz Scranton’s bees

Additional artworks include:

• the preliminary artwork for New Yorkistan, Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz’s post 9/11 cover for The New Yorker, and Kalman and Meyerowitz’s culinary subway map of the city
• Nina Katchadourian’s New York soundtrack, assembled from found segments of cassette tape
• Jeff Sisson’s ongoing Bodega List project
• a Happiness Map by Jane Hammond
• Bill Rankin’s maps of Not In My Back Yard-isms showcasing various geographies of community and exclusion
• a diptych of memory maps by Dahlia Elsayed


October 13, 2010