Here be Dragons: Cartography of Globalization

An exhibition initiated by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry
12 Nov. – 17 Dec. 2005
Opening reception: Sat. 12 Nov., 8-10pm
Toronto Free Gallery

Centuries ago, map-makers wrote the phrase ‘here be dragons’ on areas that were outside of their known world. Where should this phrase be written on contemporary maps of political and economic territory?

Recently, activists, artists, and researchers have used the form of the map to visually represent the distribution of power, the circulation of information, and the organization of control in the age of capitalist globalization. These critical cartographers make visible the vast networks of national governments, transnational corporations, and international institutions which channel massive flows of people, labour, interests, dollars, and meaning. Making the complexities of our present more graspable, counter-cartography furnishes us with pedagogical tools for cognitively navigating the class-divided, politically administered, and digitally mediated world we live in.

But the point of these maps isn’t to say: ‘Look how trapped we are.’ These networks are contested, and vulnerable. And there exist counter-networks, on whose nodes a multithere_be_dragons1ude of protagonists are searching for and inventing emergency exits. Maps of these powers ‘from below’ give expression to creative resistances and workable alternatives. These are a different type of dragon.

Believing that counter-cartography is a political provocation, the Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry is initiating a series of participatory events during the mapping show as forums for the discussion of questions raised by these critical cartographers. Where are the dragons today? How might we navigate a course within, against, and beyond the enclosures of the known world?

The exhibition features maps, texts, audio, and video by: