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map 01

LEGENDA

Als toerist in een tweede wereldstad als Damascus ben je vrijwel de enige met een kaart en je kan er de weg amper mee vinden. Er staan straatnamen op de kaart, jazeker, maar op de stoffige betonblokken van huizen vind je ze niet terug. En de eerste weg links op de kaart zou in werkelijkheid best de zesde of zevende links kunnen zijn. Vraag je aan een inwoner op de kaart aan te wijzen waar je bent, dan wijst hij beleefd een plek aan. Zomaar een plek, want jouw kaart betekent niets voor hem. Misschien hebben Damasceners meer aan het soort kaarten van Jan Rothuizen, intuïtieve kaarten opgebouwd uit woorden. Deze soort kaarten laat zien dat zij een vertekening is van de werkelijkheid om iets duidelijk te maken (Map-03 Jan Rothuizen, subjectieve kaart van de Amsterdamse kunstwereld). Maar ook de aandoenlijk gedetailleerde, want onbruikbare, stadskaart komt goed van pas. Volgens de bekende leuze kun je een vreemde stad het beste leren kennen door te verdwalen. De kaart fungeert dan om uiteindelijk in een café de overweldigende, drukkende chaos gereduceerd te zien worden tot een opvouwbaar stuk papier dat je in je binnenzak stopt. Thuis ligt de kaart in de kast. Als je nu de kaart bekijkt ontdek je weer nieuwe steegjes en de geuren die eruit opstijgen. Natuurlijk is het iets anders dan opnieuw zo’n reis te ondernemen. Die kaart is maar een model. Maar nu je de kaart in je bezit hebt, kan ook de stad je niet meer ontnomen kan worden. Misschien verklaart dat voor een deel onze fetisj voor kaarten. Kaarten lijken niet alleen gemaakt door vakmensen om gebieden te leren kennen. De bezitter of maker van de kaart maakt ook aanspraak op het in kaart gebrachte terrein of op zijn minst wordt de kaart een boodschap (Map-12 Daniël Melse). Je hoeft maar de politiek gekleurde, verschillend ingedeelde kaarten van hetzelfde Midden-Oosten naast elkaar te leggen om dit te zien. Google Earth is niet een atlas van de aarde door Google. Het is eerder de aarde van Google. Eén van de interessantste plekken daar is misschien wel ‘de Tuin der Lusten’, het schilderij van Jeroen Bosch. Als je naar het Prado museum in Madrid navigeert, en daar vervolgens naar binnen zweeft, kun je dit schilderij beter bekijken dan je waarschijnlijk ooit in het echt de kans toe krijgt. Hier is een magistraal kunstwerk in kaart gebracht: je ziet iedere scêne, streek en schilfer. Je vraagt je af of je die werkelijkheid nog wel nodig hebt en of je aan modellen niet genoeg hebt. (Map-07 Bruce Sterling – The Model is the Message, Map-06 Harm van den Dorpel) Kun je een gebied dat je niet kent in kaart brengen? (Map-04 Imaginary worldatlas of Manuel Lopez). Inderdaad zijn er kaarten mogelijk van iets moeilijk voorstelbaars als alle blauwe edelsteen verspreid over de wereld in sieraden of op schoorsteenmantels (Map-10 Pieter Paul Pothoven). En behalve kaarten van plaatsen zijn er ook kaarten van tijden (Map-05 Time Keeper/Pierre Huyghe, Map-14 Francis Alys). De formica tafeltjes op de middelbare school droegen de pentekeningen achtergelaten door leerlingen uit verschillende klassen: zij hadden vlekjes uit het formica patroon omcirkeld, herhaald, lijnen ertussen gezet. Tijdens lange lessen werden dit kaarten van andere lange lessen. Zo ook wordt een performance een kaart van performancegeschiedenis (Map-08 Tatjana Macic). In Damascus hadden ze niks aan onze kaart van die stad, omdat ze hem nooit hebben hoeven leren lezen. Er bestaat geen kaart zonder legenda (letterlijk: dingen die gelezen moeten worden). De meesten van ons zijn de reguliere plattegrond wel gewend en die legenda kennen we uit ons hoofd. Maar als alleen al de aanduiding van de schaal ontbreekt, kan het zijn dat je denkt naar een Marsfoto te kijken met kilometers diepe schachten, terwijl het een uitvergroting is van het litteken op je dijbeen (Map-09 Pieter de Ring). Voor het lezen van alternatieve kaarten is het handig om hun legenda’s te bekijken.
map 02

HTV office

Pietsjanke Fokkema

map1_cover_smaller Pietsjanke Fokkema
WWW.PIETSJANKEFOKKEMA.NL
map 03

Amsterdam

Jan Rothuizen 2009

map21
Jan Rothuizen (1968), kunstenaar, woont en werkt in Amsterdam.
map 04

THE IMAGINARY WORLD ATLAS OF MANUEL T. LOPEZ

MARCO ZEZZA, NEW YORK, MAY 2010

city_of_no_name_small CIUDAD DE MONTESANTO There will be places that we haven’t seen before we die, people that we haven’t met, and cities that we couldn’t visit during the spam of our lives. That’s why the maps drawn by Manuel Lopez seem real physical places that vanish with the impossibility to discover them. Its like when we were kids and we hid in a dark place where inside darkness nothing existed or anything could exist. Is what we know absolutely real? Are the cities where in we meet tangible? What about the spaces we share? Perhaps these are the mirror reflections of other places, the slightly different repetitions of infinite New York Cities. Everything that exists is born from people’s dreams, from our imagination: Every house, every street, every relationship and every conflict. Before things happen they are imagined in our minds. If we could just draw maps of our destiny and project the future wisely on a piece of paper! We seem to give value to what doesn’t exist yet, but that exists somewhere deep inside us. We let scarlet roads slide before us as blood flows in our veins. We keep the momentum, melt down again, then we let room for the future and walk towards new places. But those non-existing places will exist as long as life nourishes us, as long as we are faithful and we keep the pace.

“…The Great Khan’s atlas contains also the maps of the promised lands visited in thought but not yet discovered or founded: New Atlantis, Utopia, The City of the Sun, Oceana, Tamoé, New Harmony, New Lanark, Icaria. Kublai asked Marco: - You, who go about exploring and who see signs, can you tell me toward which of these futures the favoring winds are driving us.” - Italo Calvino, ‘Invisible Cities’.
map 05

TIMEKEEPER

Pierre Huyghe

8078huyghe Timekeeper, 2002, Transfer, 7-7/8 in.
Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman
Gallery, New York / Paris
map 06

3D renderings

HARM VAN DEN DORPEL 2010

map5 REDUX, 2010, 70 × 100 CM.

“The most recent works of Harm van den Dorpel were conceived by both 3D-software and through physical collage. This hybrid way of working leads to new forms, aesthetics and distribution and it inverts the conventional route from physical object to documentation. Through the use of new technology most works are already being shown and discussed on blogs before they are ever produced.”
map 07

THE MODEL IS THE MESSAGE

BRUCE STERLING 2010

Sometimes I really want an object, the thing qua thing, the literal entity itself, physically there at hand. At many other times, many crucial times of serious decision, I’m much better served with a representation of that object.
Suppose that I’m trying to create a new kind of object, to shape a new kind of thing. I don’t want to be burdened with the weighty physicality of the old one. I want a virtual 3-D model of the new one, a weightless, conceptual, interactive model that I can rotate inside a screen, using 3-D design software.


Then I’m not troubled by its stubborn materiality; I am much freer to radically alter its form. I can see left, right, front, back, port and starboard. There’s no gravity, no friction, no raw materials for making physical models. I’m spared the old exigencies of foamboard and modelling clay, of chickenwire frames and plaster.

I can change those immaterial plans as many times as I want. I can restore the changes, save the changes, erase the changes, export the changes. Because it’s only data, it’s weightless and immaterial. I can research vital information about it without lifting my hands from the keyboard or taking my eyes from the screen. I can show my work to a host of scattered co-workers at very little cost; I can offshore it to India, email it to China, get it back within the day... I’ve got an object processor! I’m crunching shapes! I’m processing objects! I’m no more likely to return to the older methods than authors are likely to return to typewriters.

After a while, once I’m used to this new routine, I don’t even think of my model as “the model” any more. My model has become the central part of the creative effort. The modelling arena is where I shape my things. The physical object itself has become mere industrial output. The model is the manager’s command-and-control platform. The object is merely hard copy.

In a SPIME ¹ world, the model is the entity, and everyone knows it.

Yesterday’s old, creaky, limited 3-D modelling programs, such as ProE, FormZ, Catia, Rhino, Solidworks, are long-forgotten. Thanks to exponential, Moore’s Law-style increases in processing, storage and bandwidth, an advanced SPIME 3-D modelling program can easily boast a finer grain of detail than the physical object it models. Instead of approximating form with a crudely nested set of polygons, a program with this capacity can generate more modelling polygons than the object in question has molecules. There’s more stored in the map than there is in the territory.

Practically every object of consequence in a SPIME world has a 3-D model. Those that were not built with models have 3-D modelling thrust upon them. They are reverse-engineered: one aims a digital camera at the object and calculates its 3-D model by using photogrammetry.

While you’re at it, you might as well photogrammetize your home and/or office, too. Your SPIME management software will surely become more efficient when it can measure and calculate the radio effects of the local walls, floors, ceilings, and furniture. Mind you, SPIME coverage is always patchy –always, because the laws of physics dictate that. No model is ever total and perfect. But you can always invest some more Wrangling² ingenuity to make your SPIMING just that little extra bit faster, more secure, less patchy.

How do you climb up that extra notch? With more processing speed, more storage and more bandwidth. How much does that cost? Something, but less all the time.

Where and when will you hit the SPIME limit to the measuring, labelling, and timing of made things, and this mapping of their environment? One might imagine (like Jorge Luis Borges in his prescient parable Tian, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius), that the territory can’t support the map. Sooner or later, reality will be historicized to the point of collapse. One is just bound to bog down and go broke in mud streams of sensor data, in ever-deeper sediments of bookkeeping.

Really, though? How, exactly? Why? For how long? Of course any particular processor, storage network or bandwidth network is subject to entropy and obsolescence. They will break, they will fail, they will have limits. But it may be that that process of deploying them, and extracting useful knowledge from analyzing that deployment, is endless.

Vannevar Bush said that science was the “endless frontier.” Will we ever know so much about how things work that we can’t afford to learn any more?

We can’t know the answer to that. But we can surmise that a Wrangler, by nature, is someone pressing hard against these limits. So: having eagerly Wrangled my walls, floors and ceilings, and having contingently nailed down the balky behavior of my SPIMES, I now begin to wonder seriously about the other physical contents of this piece of space and time. Yes, to be sure, I have all my SPIMED objects named, coded, identified, and historicized – but what about their environment?

I am scandalized when it dawns on me that there are some “objects” in this area which are unnameable! Those would not be manmade objects at all, but environmental phenomena such as humidity... smog particles... pollen, magnetic fields, toxins, mice, dust mites, fluctuations in temperature ... Certain local phenomena have not been subjected to a fully monitored historiography! Yet they can have measurable effects on both me and my precious SPIMES! Something must be done.

Here I take my technosocial cue from the experts of long-term object management, who are museum curators. Museum curators know well that the serious-minded care of precious objects over a long time must require both closely cataloged objects, and a closely monitored environment surrounding them.

Anything the museum curators of old used to do, I, as a modern Wrangler of SPIMES, can do at low cost and high intensity. So it’s high time I added new functionality to my SPIME monitors. While the monitors are sitting there emitting and receiving those radio lD waves from identified objects, they might as well briskly measure light exposure, airborne pollution and pathogens, traveling microbes, pollen counts.... When inscribed into a silicon chip, functionality is very cheap. I’ve got bandwidth and storage galore, so why not add to my objects, a matter of course, a capacity to measure acceleration? Magnetic fields? Tilt? Chemical exposure? Any phenomenon that might trouble me and my possessions in any conceivable way? You never know when data like that might come in handy. After all, I don’t have to think about it. I’ll just explore it, store it, and maybe mine it later with some well-defined, handy interface. Did I mention clocks? Of course every SPIME must have a clock, that sensor for time. Shouldn’t every object know what time it is? Fashionable items, perishable items – these goods have a time bomb ticking in them already! Anything with a sellby date surely needs a clock! Given a long view, everything has a sell-by dote. All things must pass; some of them just measure their way there.

IT MAY NOT SEEM THAT I “NEED”
ALL THAT INFORMATION,
BUT THAT’S AN OLD-FASHIONED WAY TO THINK.
I DON’T “NEED” EVERY WEB PAGE
ON THE INTERNET, EITHER.
IT’S NOT A QUESTION OF DESIGNING
AN INTERNET OF THINGS
TO MEET MY SO-CALLED “NEEDS.”
IT’S VASTLY CHEAPER
AND SIMPLER JUST TO ENABLE AUTOMATIC
INFORMATION-GENERATING
DEVICES AND PROCESSES, THEN SEARCH THEM
MECHANICALLY AND CYBERNETICALLY,
TO FIGURE OUT WHAT I “NEED.”

I can’t possibly waste my time trying to tell the Internet what’s handy for me. That approach simply makes no sense. Just jam it all in there, all you folks everywhere! I’ll make it my own business to winkle out what I need. You give what you give, and I’ll give what I give. Then I’ll search out my own answers in this blooming plethora. I can’t waste time and energy telling you what I “need”, or defining the problems of mine that you’re supposed to “solve”. I’ll just use search engines to follow the tracks of other linkers and searchers. If it was good enough for people just like me, then it’s probably good enough for me. It works for Google. I want a world that’s auto-Googling.

Who owns the SPIME? This 3-D model awaiting it’s materiality... This new-minted object on its way through a long set of human-object interactions? Who can alter it? What can they do with it? This ownership question in SPIMES can never be settled. The fact that it’s unsettleable is why there is money in it. There are no permanent solutions to SPIME questions. Only Customers and Consumers imagine that there are permanent solutions to physical ownership and intellectual property issues; End-Usersknow it’s all a shell-game, while SPIME Wranglers don’t even bother with the shell – they are the shell.

Wherever there is an insoluble intellectual-property question, there is a SPIME career. That’s where I Wrangle. When and if it gets more or less figured out. I bump up the S-curve and I go Wrangle somewhere more advanced.

1) SPIMES are manufactured objects whose informational support is so overwhelmingly extensive and rich that they are regarded as material instantiations of an immaterial system. SPIMES begin and and as data. They are designed on screens, fabricated by digital means, and precisely tracked through space and time throughout their earthly sojourn.
2) People within an infrastructure of SPIMES are Wranglers.

Bruce Sterling. ‘The Model is the Message’. From his book: Shaping Things.
Cambridge: MIT, 2005: p. 95-101
map 08

Performance interrupted:
death and the other fabulous nonsense

TAT JANA MACIC 2010

When performance artists reflect on performance art, they currently often do so by appropriating or re-enacting historic performances. These reflective performances can therefore be described as performative maps of performance art. Such vibrant morphing of the artistic maps and codes doesn’t occur without an inner struggle, as Macedonian artist Bojana Panevska emphasises in her performance ‘Step 3 Towards Enlightenment- The Housewife and The Art Collector’s Wife’. One of the two fictive characters, The Collector’s Wife, tries to move the audience from lethargy of everyday life. By taking the goldfish out of the water and placing them on the floor flipped around, Bojana provokes the audience to become the performance artists themselves. Furthermore The Collector’s Wife talks about the difficulty and struggle to be original, while referring to the history of performance art. She cannot take a moralistic point of view but merely portray the situation as she encounters it.

The premiere of the performance ‘Step 3 Towards Enlightenment - The Housewife and The Art Collector’s Wife’ in de Brakke Grond at KunstVlaai 2010 was apparently provoking enough, because the scheduled second performance on the very same day, the19th of May, never took place. De Brakke Grond, Flemish cultural centre based in Amsterdam, that prises itself as a podium for extreme performance, showed performances every day during the KunstVlaai in the Machinegebouw. After the premiere the artist was seen frustratingly walking away from de Brakke Grond, while the curator Fleurie Kloostra invited the spectators to attend a Q&A on the grass field near the Machinegebouw at 16.00 hours instead. What happened exactly and why the second performance was cancelled, is in fact not certain, as the actual events are interpreted by both the artist and the curator in a profoundly different way.
This became clear during the one hour long Q & A, attended by 20 or so young artists, curators and spectators. While 48 goldfish were swarming around in one transparent plastic container in the middle of the group (courtesy of the curator), both parties defended their position vigorously, growing even more apart as the dialogue progressed. In the words of Leen Laconte, the director of de Brakke Grond: “Contemporary performance art has lost its subversive edge, so de Brakke Grond aspires to offer a platform to the new generation of artists who re-define the performance art”. The outraged Bojana however claimed that the performance was interrupted by the curator, who “took and hid” the goldfish from the artist who than refused to perform again without the fish. The curator on her part insisted that the performance was finished when she engaged in rescuing the fish that would otherwise die on the stage. Much to a dismay in the audience, Leen Laconte lamented on some recent scientific statements according to which even animals posses the ability to experience culture and therefore no difference between killing a human being on a stage and killing a goldfish exists... ‘Should an artist be allowed to kill a human being on the stage?’- she wondered. Promptly Bojana Panevska grabbed one goldfish from the plastic container, holding it high for all to see, stating theatrically: ‘The difference between you and this goldfish is that I can buy goldfish for 75 eurocents while I can not and do not want to buy you!’. Young artists laughed. Not amused, the director of Brakke Grond wondered ‘if such violence is still necessary in art today?’.
The question at hand is how far may and should the artist go in threatening, or ultimately terminating, any life-form during a performance. Is the authority of the artist on the stage different than any other authority- meaning do the moral codes, laws and socially excepted behaviour not apply for the artist? Who has the final saying in such life and death matters in art: the artist, the curator, the institution, animal right’s activists, or the (unsuspected) public? According to Bojana Panevska ‘The only tortures we inflict these days are undeserved and anonymous ones. Hence this performance raised questions about the relationship between art and the market, the artist and the institution, and their old anxieties about another.’ So, has de Brakke Grond overstepped the boundaries of a hospitable art institution, by interrupting the performance (if that is what happened), turning itself into some kind of a moral police in the Arts? Or is it the other way around: has the artist turned her back on the institution, by strategically planning the apparent provocation, without informing the curator beforehand? After all, during the Q & A, Panevska claimed herself that the young performance artists have inherited a history which is hard to outshine: there is simply an alarmingly small manoeuvring space left to provoke the public - while being interesting and fresh at the same time. The mission of mapping and re-mapping, positioning and re-positioning the performance art becomes thereby the issue of rearranging history, our inner borders and maybe even some institutional borders; while the artists continue to put themselves on the ever-changing map of the history of art.
map 09

PIETER DE RING

PIETER PAUL POTHOVEN 2010

dering_3

1. Een oppervlak van vergankelijke rijkdom en decadentie. Kilo’s druiven met bladeren er nog aan, zo afgeplukt. halfgeschilde citrusvruchten, een gouden bokaal, een zilveren houder met porselein. Een vuurrode kreeft die nonchalant met zijn schaar over de tafelrand ligt. Een krab op zijn rug, perzikken, brood, kersen, alles is kakelvers en is geplaats op een diepblauw tafelkleed dat ruim een kwart van het schilderij in beslag neemt.

2. De_Ring R55/3, 400x(oil), is een dwarsdoorsnede van een verfmonster afkomstig uit de verlaag net naast de schaar van de kreeft, waar het blauwe tafellaken lichter van kleur is. De verf is hier opgebouwd uit 3 duidelijk te onderscheiden lagen: een bruine grondlaag, een middelste laag van loodwit gemengd met een middelmatige kwaliteit ultramarijn en een dunne transparante toplaag van onversneden ultramarijn van de allebeste kwaliteit. Ultramarijn dekt slecht, het blauw ontleent zijn lichte kleur aan een combinatie van de middelste en de toplaag van transparante rijkdom. De dunne toplaag van puur ultramarijn strekt zich uit over het hele blauwe oppervlak van het tafellaken. De lichte kleur en de tekening van het laken wordt veroorzaakt door de onderliggende lagen. Van de zijkant gezien, kan je dus de waarachtige kleur van puur ultramarijn ontwaren. Een blauw dat neigt naar zwart en dus weg lijkt te vallen tegen de duistere achtergrond van de dia. Normaliter worden er voor dit soort stillevens Perzische tapijten gebruikt, maar om dit schilderij nog kostbaarder te maken heeft De Ring besloten het kleed blauw te maken, Ultramarijn-blauwe tafelkleden bestonden destijds niet. De Ring creëerde hier een eigen symbool van rijkdom die de andere rijdom op het schilderij, slechts representationeel van aard, niet alleen draagt maar zelfs overstijgt. Een object dat zijn mediumgebruik en vice versa versterkt en niet tegen lijkt te spreken, zoals bijvoorbeeld wel het geval is bij de gouden bokaal, waar het relatief goedkope geel waarmee het geschilderd zich tegen het goud van de bokaal lijkt te verzetten. Het oppervlak ter hoogte van het tafellaken toont niet alleen rijkdom maar is rijkdom.

3. ‘SK-A-335; Stilleven met een pronkbokaal’ van het Rijksmuseum, geschilderd door Pieter de Ring rond de tweede helft van de zeventiende eeuw. ‘SK-A-335’ representeert een wereld van macht en aardse decadentie. Het schilderij dat zelf een product van luxe is, en dat niets anders dan symbolen van rijkdom, behelst een life-style folder voor de hogere klasse, bezegelt de materiële voortvarendheid van de eigenaar. Deze Damien Hirst van de 17e eeuw is gemaakt in de tijd dat de VOC heer en meester was en de Oost afstroopte. De_Ring R55/3, 400x(oil), toont het hemelse blauw, eens voorbehouden aan religieuze taferelen waaronder het gewaad van de Heilige Maagd Maria, ligt nu uitgespreid als aards tafellaken met luxe voer voor het koloniaal heersers. Doorsnede gemaakt en gefotografeerd door Alie Wallert, Curator technisch schilderonderzoek, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
map 10

bergen in afganistan

PIETER PAUL POTHOVEN 2010

map7

Cz. Czerski, About Occurrences of Lapis Lasuli in Sar-i-Sang Area, Badakhschan, Afghanistan.
1944. Figure 3. Courtesy of the Geological Survey of Afghanistan.
map 11

Map of Darkness; a No-Show of Wealth

PIETER PAUL POTHOVEN 2010

"Man puts an end to the darkness;
he searches the farthest recesses
for ore in the blackest darkness.
From where people dwell he cuts a shaft,
In places forgotten by the foot of man,
far from men he dangles and sways.
The earth, from which food comes,
Is transformed below as by fire;
sapphires1 come from its rocks,
and its dust contains nuggets of gold.
No bird of prey knows that hidden path,
No falcon's eye has seen it.
Proud beasts do not set foot on it
No lion prowls there." (Job, 28:3-28:8)

The 'place of sapphires' as mentionend in Job, are the remote lapis lazuli mines of the Afghan village Sar-e-Sang (literally the ‘fountain head of stone’). Their history is impressive: the mines are the oldest operating mines in the world. For over 6000 years, it is the only place where lapis lazuli of the best quality is found, a deep blue precious stone that has long ago been praised by the ancient inhabitants of the Orient for its alleged spiritual powers. Since the late middle ages, lapis lazuli has been grinded into the costly pigment ultramarine blue, a colour praised as “illustrious, beautiful, and most perfect, beyond all other colors” by a fifteenth century artist, “one could not say anything about it, or do anything with it, that its quality would not still surpass.”2 Since its first appearance, lapis lazuli and ultramarine have continued to play a significant role in European visual culture. Over the past centuries, the stone and the pigment have become the protagonists of an intricate history of wealth and conspiciousness, a spectacle on display in major museums near you. While the precious blue stone has become omnipresent in our world, its origin in the Sar-e-Sang has always been surrounded by mystery.

It was not until the age of late colonialism of the 19th century that the darkness 'forgotten by travelers, far away from mankind' was partly uncovered. It was the start of a period of what I would call 'visual colonization': a foreign attempt at capturing the unfathomable and profound darkness of the mines by means of maps, depictions and descriptions. This particular episode in a worldwide time of exploration strikingly shows the perpetual failure to truly capture what a foreign object, in this case the source of blue wealth from Afghanistan, means for the Western world.

Anno 2010, it is easy to find that the Lapis mines are in the Hindu-Kush mountain range, situated approximately 150 miles North-East of Kabul. With a comfortable flight of 'Google Earth' one can effortlessly visit the mine area. (Tip: start in Feyzabad, Badakhshan and follow the Kokcha river upstream.) After a journey through a breathtaking landscape you will find yourself in the mine village of Sar-e-Sang. Up in the naked mountain slopes your screen will show the entrances of the mines, recognizable by the white streams coming out of the black holes. If you try to fly into the darkness you will get the strong impression you are truly entering the cave. To no avail. Turn around and you will find yourself on a slippery hill slope of pixels.

An actual venture into the darkness of the caves is not an easy job, to understate the matter. The hardship is partly due to the inhospitable Hindu Kush region, where the only road leading to the mine is frequently sealed off by heavy snowfall and landslides. The unknown poet quoted by Wood already warned us:

'If you wish not to go to destruction
Avoid the narrow valley of Koran'3

Yet, it is really the political landscape encompassing the Lapis lazuli deposits that makes the Hindu Kush impassable. Those in control of the mines have always heavily protected the mines as their precious source of blue revenue.

Due to the treacherous terrain in which the mines are situated, there have so far been only a handful of primarily written accounts of people who entered the mines. Up to that time, Lapis lazuli mines had only been the topic of speculation and imagination. Marco Polo, without ever visiting the mine complex, mentioned a “mountain where azure (Lapis lazuli) is found, it is the finest in the world and is got in a vein like silver”4. Until the mid-nineteenth century, no eyewitness reports of the mine where recorded, only the name of the blue pigment ‘ultramarine’ (from beyond the sea) hinted at the colour’s mystical origin. For a long time, the inhospitable landscape of Badakshan with its narrow valleys and steep mountain slopes carefully helped to preserve the mystery of the Sar-e-Sang. The ‘visual colonization’ of Afghanistan was launched during the 'The Great Game', the famous rivalry between Russia and England to gain supremacy over Central Asia. Inevitably, once foreign powers drew near, the mines became located and described. In 1838, cartographer and lieutenant of the British-Indian navy John Wood was the first to give a personal and detailed account of the spatial properties of the mines and the architecture of its darkness.

"Where the deposit of Lapis Lazuli occurs the valley of the Kokcha is about 200 yards wide. On both sides the mountains are high and naked. The entrance to the mine is in the face of the mountain on the right bank of the stream and about 1500 feet above it's level. (…) The path by which the mines are approached is steep and dangerous (…) The shaft by which you descend to the gallery is ten square feet and is not as perpendicular to prevent you walking down. The gallery is eighty paces long, with a gentle descent; but it terminates abruptly in a hole twenty feet in diameter. The width and height of the gallery, though irregular, may be estimated about twelve feet; but at some places where the roof has fallen in it's section is so contracted that the visitor is forced to proceed on his hands and knees."5

In 1841, his book A personal Narrative of a Journey to the Source of the River Oxus was published in London, accompanied by a black-and-white illustration titled Shaft.Gallery.Drop. The picture shows a tube-like structure, an archetypical cylindrical cave. This abstract simplification of the darkness constitutes the first somewhat clumsy representation of the mines. Nevertheless, this simple sketch started an age of visually capturing, encapsulating and confining this dark and precious object of investigation. Lieutenant Wood’s exotic trophy from the Orient was immediately decorated with a 'Patron's Medal', the most prestigious prize of the Royal Geographic Society.

More expeditions followed: The Frenchman Barthoux visited the mines in 1929 and the German Brückl followed in 1936. His article in the Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie Brückl shows the first photographs of the area. Abbildung 7 depicts the mines, rather disappointingly, as little black holes in the distance. In 1943, one hundred years after Wood was “forced to proceed on hands and knees”6, a Soviet expedition headed by Czerski, was the first to map, methodically and with much detail, the architecture of the Sar-e-Sang.

Although we could look at Wood’s simple illustration of the mines as a descriptive victory over the mines and a printed capitalization of the unknown, we have to remember that his hunger for the Orient, served no other goal than to inform the Western public. However, the hand-drawn maps and diagrams of Czerski operated first and foremost as a visual political tool for the USSR’s economic dream. As the famous American scholar Benedict Anderson states in his renowned book Imagined Communities, “the map (…) profoundly shaped the way in which the colonial state imagined its dominion (…) the geography of its domain.”7 "Instead of merely being a scientific abstraction of reality, colonialism had changed the map into “a model for, rather than a model of, what it purported to represent (…). It had become a real instrument to concretize projections on the earth's surface. A map was now necessary for the new administrative mechanism (…) to back up their claim.”8

Czerski's document About Occurrences of Lapis Lasuli in Sar-i-Sang Area, Badakhschan, Afghanistan is now part of the library of 'The Geological Survey of Afghanistan'. It is one of the few accounts that has not been destroyed by thirty years of relentless wars or ruined by the moisture of the cellars used as hideaways. The document shows the projected claims of the Soviets. [The green 'projected adid' in image Czerski_2] This representation marks a turning point in the history of the mines. It embodies the transition from thousand years of slowly expanding darkness to a period of a Russian dark explosion. Initially, the excavation of the blue stones progressed little by little and the expansion of dark emptiness was slow-paced. As captain Wood observed, fire, steam and crowbars were used to weaken the rocks and break the good lapis lazuli away. Later, when Cserzki’s document heralded the Russian incursion into the region, pneumatic drills and dynamite ripped open the darkness with increasing speed.

Although Wood, Brückl and Cserzki have attempted to unclose the secret of lapis lazuli by delineating, quantifying and representing a specific Afghani region of rocks and dark holes, they have failed to grasp the actual location where the ‘blue beyond all colours’ is being produced. The colour acquires long after it has left the hole hit by the mineworkers. The darkness of the mine, containing nothing but chilliness and dust encloses an ever-expanding gallery of absent precious artifacts; the void of the shaft corresponds to the abundance of blue used worldwide. With their maps and drawings, Wood and Czerski gave shape to this darkness. Inadvertently, they created a model of what I would call a 'No-Show': a display of an impressive but invisible Diaspora of blue. It is the negative image of the blue cloaks painted by Giotto and Titiaan. The dresses of Vermeer's maids. The sky above the shrine of the Holy Ignatius. The death mask of Tutanchamon and the eye shadow of Cleopatra. The Lapis used by the Mesopotamians to carve a map for the starry heaven. Invisible to the eye, the dark shaft harbors an endless collection of stripped masterpieces. Eventually, it is this ubiquitous, universal use of blue that has rendered the darkness meaningful and plentiful in absentia. It is a significant darkness that could have never been demystified by the maps of Wood and Czerski, simply because their mystery has, for millennia, been generated elsewhere. This absent abundance of meaning gives shape to the true wealth of the mines. A fortune one cannot measure per kilogram. On the contrary: the value seems inversely proportional to the speed and the amount of lapis lazuli mined. Scarcity increases the price, we all know, but it also allows mystery and meaning time to settle down onto the stone. When the first little pieces of blue reached Europe, their origins were blurred during their long and breathtaking journey. The stones gained an immense significance compared to the tons imported over the last sixty years. Only one paragraph has recently been added to the 6000 year old glossary of meanings attached to the stone: lapis lazuli became the 'blood diamond' of the Mujahideen in their guerrillia war against the Soviets, who once taught them the mining techniques. The real treasure already escaped and dispersed in all directions long before Wood entered the darkness and heralded the late colonial era of demystification.

"But where shall wisdom be found?
And where is the place of understanding?
Man does not know the way to it,
and it is not found in the land of the living.
The deep says, 'It is not in me,'
and the sea says, 'It is not with me.'" (Job 28:12-28:14)

1. Sapphires is the ancient name for Lapis Lazuli. It derives from the Hebrew sapir (ספיר) (via Greek sapphiros; σάπφειρος) meaning 'blue stone'.
2. Cennino Cennini, The Craftsmen's Handbook volume 2, translated from Il libro dell'Arte by D.V. Thompson, (Yale University Press, 1933), p. 36.
3. Lieutenant John Wood, A Personal Narrative of a Journey to the Source of the River Oxus, (John Murray, London 1841), p. 263.
4. Colonel Sir Henry Yule, The Book of Sir Marco Polo The Venetian; Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, (John Murray, London 1904), Book I, p. 150.
5. Wood, p. 263,264
6. Wood, p. 264.
7. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities; Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, (Verso 1983), p.164
8. Ibid. p. 173
map 12

the world as one enclosed space

daniel melse 2010

map 13

...Of Exactitude in Science

JORGE BORGES

In that Empire, the craft of Cartography attained such Perfection that the Map of a Single province covered the space of an entire City, and the Map of the Empire itself an entire Province. In the course of Time, these Extensive maps were found somehow wanting, and so the College of Cartographers evolved a Map of the Empire that was of the same Scale as the Empire and that coincided with it point for point. Less attentive to the Study of Cartography, succeeding Generations came to judge a map of such Magnitude cumbersome, and, not without Irreverence, they abandoned it to the Rigours of sun and Rain. In the western Deserts, tattered Fragments of the Map are still to be found, Sheltering an occasional Beast or beggar; in the whole Nation, no other relic is left of the Discipline of Geography. Jorge Luis Borges. “Of Exactitude in Science” from his book: A Universal History of Infamy. London: Penguin Books, 1975.
map 14

PARADOX OF PRAXIS L

FRANCIS ALYS 2010

francisalys
Francis Alÿs Paradox of Practice I (Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing), 1997 Photographic Documentation of an Action Video, 5 min. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York
map 15

Guangzhou

Jan Rothuizen 2005-2006

china-papercut-2 Papercut Map of the south Chinese city of Guangzhou (Canton).
map 16

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Editorial

Kunst vraagt je om te kijken en te denken. Kunstbeschouwers stellen vragen over kunst. Vragen zijn de drijvende kracht achter denken. Vragen zetten ook al 15 jaar de HTV redactie van kunstenaar-beschouwers ertoe aan om iedere twee maanden een krant te maken. Tot nu.

Deze zomer hebben vragen de HTV doen besluiten om over twee maanden eens geen krant te uit te brengen, maar eens iets langer de tijd te nemen om te antwoorden. Na vijftien jaar en 84 nummers valt er heel wat te bezien. Hoe verhoudt de HTV zich tot de kunst en de samenleving? Hoe kan de HTV inhoudelijk en financieel onafhankelijk blijven? Wat betekent onafhankelijkheid? Maar ook, wat betekent het om in deze digitale tijden een krant te maken? Kortom: HTV gaat zich bezinnen. Bezinnen wil echter niet zeggen dat de redactie ergens in stilte zal gaan zitten peinzen, we gaan hard aan het werk en we blijven u op de hoogte houden, bijvoorbeeld via onze website www.htvdeijsberg.nl. Daar zijn ook telefoonnummers en emailadressen te vinden waarop we bereikbaar zijn. Zeker is dat we weer zullen uitkomen. Onzeker is wanneer en waarmee...
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Editorial

Kunst vraagt je om te kijken en te denken. Kunstbeschouwers stellen vragen over kunst. Vragen zijn de drijvende kracht achter denken. Vragen zetten ook al 15 jaar de HTV redactie van kunstenaar-beschouwers ertoe aan om iedere twee maanden een krant te maken. Tot nu.

Deze zomer hebben vragen de HTV doen besluiten om over twee maanden eens geen krant te uit te brengen, maar eens iets langer de tijd te nemen om te antwoorden. Na vijftien jaar en 84 nummers valt er heel wat te bezien. Hoe verhoudt de HTV zich tot de kunst en de samenleving? Hoe kan de HTV inhoudelijk en financieel onafhankelijk blijven? Wat betekent onafhankelijkheid? Maar ook, wat betekent het om in deze digitale tijden een krant te maken? Kortom: HTV gaat zich bezinnen. Bezinnen wil echter niet zeggen dat de redactie ergens in stilte zal gaan zitten peinzen, we gaan hard aan het werk en we blijven u op de hoogte houden, bijvoorbeeld via onze website www.htvdeijsberg.nl. Daar zijn ook telefoonnummers en emailadressen te vinden waarop we bereikbaar zijn. Zeker is dat we weer zullen uitkomen. Onzeker is wanneer en waarmee...
map 21

HTV MAPS

Editorial

Kunst vraagt je om te kijken en te denken. Kunstbeschouwers stellen vragen over kunst. Vragen zijn de drijvende kracht achter denken. Vragen zetten ook al 15 jaar de HTV redactie van kunstenaar-beschouwers ertoe aan om iedere twee maanden een krant te maken. Tot nu.

Deze zomer hebben vragen de HTV doen besluiten om over twee maanden eens geen krant te uit te brengen, maar eens iets langer de tijd te nemen om te antwoorden. Na vijftien jaar en 84 nummers valt er heel wat te bezien. Hoe verhoudt de HTV zich tot de kunst en de samenleving? Hoe kan de HTV inhoudelijk en financieel onafhankelijk blijven? Wat betekent onafhankelijkheid? Maar ook, wat betekent het om in deze digitale tijden een krant te maken? Kortom: HTV gaat zich bezinnen. Bezinnen wil echter niet zeggen dat de redactie ergens in stilte zal gaan zitten peinzen, we gaan hard aan het werk en we blijven u op de hoogte houden, bijvoorbeeld via onze website www.htvdeijsberg.nl. Daar zijn ook telefoonnummers en emailadressen te vinden waarop we bereikbaar zijn. Zeker is dat we weer zullen uitkomen. Onzeker is wanneer en waarmee...
map 22

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Editorial

Kunst vraagt je om te kijken en te denken. Kunstbeschouwers stellen vragen over kunst. Vragen zijn de drijvende kracht achter denken. Vragen zetten ook al 15 jaar de HTV redactie van kunstenaar-beschouwers ertoe aan om iedere twee maanden een krant te maken. Tot nu.

Deze zomer hebben vragen de HTV doen besluiten om over twee maanden eens geen krant te uit te brengen, maar eens iets langer de tijd te nemen om te antwoorden. Na vijftien jaar en 84 nummers valt er heel wat te bezien. Hoe verhoudt de HTV zich tot de kunst en de samenleving? Hoe kan de HTV inhoudelijk en financieel onafhankelijk blijven? Wat betekent onafhankelijkheid? Maar ook, wat betekent het om in deze digitale tijden een krant te maken? Kortom: HTV gaat zich bezinnen. Bezinnen wil echter niet zeggen dat de redactie ergens in stilte zal gaan zitten peinzen, we gaan hard aan het werk en we blijven u op de hoogte houden, bijvoorbeeld via onze website www.htvdeijsberg.nl. Daar zijn ook telefoonnummers en emailadressen te vinden waarop we bereikbaar zijn. Zeker is dat we weer zullen uitkomen. Onzeker is wanneer en waarmee...
map 24

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map 25

HTV MAPS

Editorial

Kunst vraagt je om te kijken en te denken. Kunstbeschouwers stellen vragen over kunst. Vragen zijn de drijvende kracht achter denken. Vragen zetten ook al 15 jaar de HTV redactie van kunstenaar-beschouwers ertoe aan om iedere twee maanden een krant te maken. Tot nu.

Deze zomer hebben vragen de HTV doen besluiten om over twee maanden eens geen krant te uit te brengen, maar eens iets langer de tijd te nemen om te antwoorden. Na vijftien jaar en 84 nummers valt er heel wat te bezien. Hoe verhoudt de HTV zich tot de kunst en de samenleving? Hoe kan de HTV inhoudelijk en financieel onafhankelijk blijven? Wat betekent onafhankelijkheid? Maar ook, wat betekent het om in deze digitale tijden een krant te maken? Kortom: HTV gaat zich bezinnen. Bezinnen wil echter niet zeggen dat de redactie ergens in stilte zal gaan zitten peinzen, we gaan hard aan het werk en we blijven u op de hoogte houden, bijvoorbeeld via onze website www.htvdeijsberg.nl. Daar zijn ook telefoonnummers en emailadressen te vinden waarop we bereikbaar zijn. Zeker is dat we weer zullen uitkomen. Onzeker is wanneer en waarmee...