HeK – Basel, Switzerland
21 / 01 / 2021 – 14 / 03 / 2021

The exhibition Shaping the Invisible World examines, through cartography, the representational forms of the map as a tool between knowledge and technology. The works of the artists on view negotiate the meaning of the map as a gauge of our digital, technological and global society.

Cartography – the science of surveying and representing the world – developed in antiquity and provided the springboard for communication and economic exchange between people and cultures around the globe. At the same time, maps are undeniably never neutral, since their creation inherently involves interpretation and imagination.

Today, it is IT companies that drive progress in the field and drastically influence our views of the world and how we communicate, navigate and consume globally. While map production has become more democratic, digital maps are nevertheless increasingly used for political and economic manipulation. Questions of privacy, authorship, economic interests and big data management are more poignant than ever before and closely intertwined with contemporary cartographic practices.

Today’s maps not only depict, but also document, negotiate and visualize subjective views of the world. But are these maps more democratic? Who benefits from self-determined productions and what consequences do they lead to?

The strategies in digital mapping and cartography employed by the artists presented in Shaping the Invisible World are subversive. Their spectacular panoramas and virtual scenarios reveal how the digital technologies culturally affect our understanding of the world.

Navigating between subversive cartography and digital mapping, the exhibition puts the spotlight on the fascination of maps in relation to the democratization of knowledge and appropriation. By uncovering hidden realities, scarcely visible developments and possible new social relationships within a territory, the artists delineate the evolution of invisible worlds.

Artists: Studio Above&Below, Tega Brain & Julian Oliver & Bengt Sjölén, James Bridle, Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, Bureau d’études/ Collectif Planète Laboratoire, fabric | ch, Fei Jun, Total Refusal (Robin Klengel & Leonhard Müllner), Trevor Paglen, Esther Polak & Ivar Van Bekkum, Quadrature, Jakob Kudsk Steensen

Curators: Boris Magrini and Christine Schranz

Link: https://www.hek.ch/en/program/events-en/event/shaping-the-invisible-world-digital-cartography-as-an-instrument-of-knowledge.html