Experimental Geography


Experimental Geography

Commissaire invité : Nato Thompson

20.01 — 20.03 / 2011

crédits : Ilana Halperin, Boiling Milk, Solfataras, 2000. Impression chromogène, 48 X 76 cm.

Vernissage 29 January 2011 – 14h

Experimental Geography

Guest Curator: Nato Thompson
Organized by Independent Curators International (iCI)
Co-presented with the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop’s University
A shuttle will be available between Sporobole and the Foreman Gallery on opening day on January 29.

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. Artists in Sporobole: e-Xplo, Ilana Halperin, Multiplicity, Raqs Media Collective, Daniel Tucker and Alex Villar.

“The manifestations of “experimental geography” (a term coined by geographer Trevor Paglen in 2002) cover all the practices of contemporary art today – from cities made of fabric sewn in suitcases, to bus tours in water treatment plants, to artists climbing building walls, to sound works that capture the hum of the electrical waves of the network. In the hands of contemporary artists, the study of the encounter between the human and the topography of the earth becomes one of the most challenging enigmas to solve in an experimental way. The exhibition presents an overview of this new practice, through a wide range of media: video and sound installations, photographs, sculptures and experimental cartographies.

Experimental geography presents artists whose approaches range from poetic to empirical. More pragmatic techniques include those of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), which carries out projects with students and groups outside the artistic world and thus aims to encourage everyone to become an agent of change in their own environment. See, for example, the map that the UPC has designed to help stevedores and truckers locate choke points in the freight transportation system. Equally empirical, the projects of the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), a research organization, examine the nature and extent of human interactions with the Earth’s surface. The CLUI adopts a multidisciplinary approach that requires a reading of the American landscape (notably, the disfiguration of the picturesque shores of the Hudson River, caused by the extraction of natural resources), leading the spectator to observe with a new eye certain hidden details of his daily experience. “N.T.

Experimental Geography is a travelling exhibition organized and circulated by Independent Curators International (iCI), New York, with Nato Thompson as guest curator. The exhibition, its tour and catalogue are made possible thanks in part to the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, to iCI Advocates, iCI Partners, Gerrit L. and Sydie Lansing and Barbara and John Robinson.

Link to the Foreman Art Gallery page


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Crédit Photo: Jocelyn Riendeau



Nato Thompson is Chief Commissioner at Creative Time, New York, as well as author and activist. Key to the City, Democracy in America: The National Campaign, Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, a project by Paul Chan in collaboration with Harlem Classical Theatre, and Mike Nelson: A Psychic Vacuum, are among his projects with Creative Time. Thompson was curator at the MASS MoCA where his exhibitions The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere and Ahistoric Occasion: Artists Making History are on display.

Independent Curators International (iCI) produces exhibitions, events, publications and training opportunities for diverse audiences around the world. A catalyst for independent reflection, iCI connects emerging and established curators and artists.


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