There are many kinds of maps to help find our way in this world. Political, road, and topographic maps may be familiar, but in Chilean artist Rodrigo Arteaga’s hands, maps are made by and of cultivated fungi. Meticulously grown and preserved, Arteaga’s maps are simultaneously science lesson and aesthetic object.
“Convergence” is a mapamundi (map of the world); an installation composed of filamentary fungi in glass containers. The propagation these fungi propagated represented the surface of the earth. The other components of the work were elements that evidence the research process: photocopies of mycology books, pencil drawings that imitate the growth of fungi, sketches, photographs, and Petri dishes with laboratory tests.
A second project, “Atlas de Chile Regionalizado,” consists of 15 glass containers in which different types of filamentary fungi represent each one of the 15 regions of Chile. The living organic matter of the fungi is delimited and cut in the shape of each region, then preserved under resin.
These interdisciplinary works involve people from interdisciplinary areas of thought. Their beauty is in the relationship between art and science; order and chaos.
The work of Matthew Picton is something more than a map, even something more than a model city. He meticulously builds cities from paper. Each buildings wall is built from a strip of paper leaving its interior empty. In a way his three dimensional maps get at the personality of a city. Speaking about cartography Picton says,
“There is some intrinsic quality to cartography that goes beyond the scientific document – a beauty of form and detail, a record of past times and places, something that lives as a world in which imagination can flow; places to re-visit, places to re-imagine, a world to re-make itself in the imagination.” [via]
Several of his pieces depict cities before and after a natural disaster or war. The charred strips of paper mark burnt or crumbled buildings. Pockets of burnt paper seem more like injuries than a cold record of a past fact.
London based artist Emma Mcnally makes abstract graphite drawings that look like city grids and star maps. But this description doesn’t come close to doing them justice. Usually large in scale, the drawings emit a wizened, emotive quality. Somehow, each miniscule mark of graphite takes on endless personality. In the end, the works are just as effective as maps of life’s random chaos as they are as any type of reference to formal cartography. (via)