McDaniel College’s Department of Art and Art History presents “Alternative Cartographies: Artists Claiming Public Space,” through December 18 in The Rice Gallery in Peterson Hall.

* Photos by Rebecca Juliette

Cartography, or mapmaking, is an act of power. Historically, maps have been used to advance national, political, and economic interests. They have constituted powerful instruments in processes of colonization and domination, military surveillance, navigation, business transactions, and commercial advertising. In recent times, real-estate developers and architectural firms employ maps as reliable and convincing visual documentation in negotiations with community boards. Current political campaigns and elections are impossible to imagine without maps that designate the political fabric of a nation. Despite its presumed objective basis, mapmaking represents a highly subjective, selective and flexible practice.

In recent years, a number of contemporary artists and artist collectives have been employing participatory and collaborative cartography as a valuable tactic in their art and activist practice.

Curated by Izabel Galliera, the exhibition Alternative Cartography: Artists Claiming Public Space brings together six contemporary international artists, Matei Bejenaru, Graham Coreil-Allen, Jason Hoylman, Daniela Kostova, Olivia Robinson, and Miryana Todorova, who are concerned with the subversive potential of cartography.

Working in diverse artistic media, including performance art, drawing, video art and installation, the artists seek to convey cartography as an instrument of empowerment. They share an interest in proposing critical alternatives to our increasingly privatized and surveyed public space. Moreover, illustrating a major worldwide trend in contemporary art, New Public Sites – McDaniel / Westminster (2015) by Graham Coreil-Allen and The Grafting of Language to Space (2015) by Jason Hoylman invite the participation of McDaniel students, staff, and faculty in the creation of their art works.