Art and Maps Since 1945

art and maps flyer

17th May 2013
The Second Annual Art History Graduate Conference
School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex

Senate Room 4.722 (Entrance 1W, floor 4 – See Map)

KEYNOTE ADDRESS – ‘Mother Nature on the Run: Austerity and utopian globalisms in the visual arts in the 1970s’
Jonathan Harris, Professor in Global Art and Design Studies and Director of Research for the Winchester Centre for Global Futures in Art, Design and Media at the University of Southampton.

Emotional Cartography Christian Nold

Image from Greenwich Emotion Map project, Christian Nold, 2005-2006



In the postwar period, maps have become increasingly common as an artistic medium, but this rise to prominence emerges from several distinct historical trajectories.

One important lineage is that linked to Conceptual Art and its legacy, where the map, like the diagram, has been used as a figure of social abstraction, raising questions about the space and its representation as well as art and communications technology. Elsewhere, groups such as the Situationist International and certain strands of performance art have been concerned with the production of art (or anti-art), in or as ‘real space’, something that pushes the boundaries of mapping and perhaps art practice to their limit. In such practices, maps have been an important means of producing, documenting and disseminating activities, whilst tactics of counter-mapping have been used to question representational hegemonies, even representation itself. Equally many artists have sought to contest what is at stake in mapping from a postcolonial standpoint – to redraw maps or to erase them altogether.

These are only some of the many engagements with map-making in postwar art. This conference will seek to both examine localised examples of such practices, but also to enquire after, and draw out, potential common threads. In more recent years, changes in technology, for example satellite navigation and locative media, and transformations in the (geo)political landscape have significantly impacted upon map-making practices. As such we are also particularly keen to consider contributions on recent and contemporary developments.

Organising Committee:
Natasha Adamou,
Christopher Collier, David Hodge, Stefanie Kogler,


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