Cartographic Spaces of Memory and Oblivion

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Human experience is linked to places of encounter and origin, to cities and roads, to traces of journey and wander. Identity surfaces in personal and cultural cartographies, revived or narrated in maps. From Palestinian refugee camps, where streets are named after the lost places of origin, over drawings of death marches of the Nazi prisoners, to stories of immigrants of multiple mega cities, cartographical practices restore a sense of belonging and becoming. As such, the map is everywhere.
But the map is never complete: always offering a certain reduction, an illusion or even a manipulation of reality. The map can indeed (non)-purposively erase life experience and rewrite history: it can forget whole spaces and communities, or spread lies. No map means no existence, no culture, no community. By renaming places, moving (virtual) boundaries, ignoring slums or nomadic communities, mapping practices can lead to cartographic rupture, and become powerful tools of discrimination, submission and omission.
Space and movement, place and trajectory, origin and diaspora shape human identity. Cartographic expressions, both in life and art, create lines of remembrance and become part of identity and the own narrative of life, while displaying also other memories of the broader world. However, cartographies of power can erase remembrance and rewrite history. This chapter explores the role of cartographic practices in human experiences: both as cartographies of remembrance and as cartographies of oblivion and even rupture. Cartographic practices are aesthetic responses to this paradoxical condition.
Drawing upon artistic and cultural examples of maps and other cartographic practices, I will consider their impact upon culture and experience: as an aesthetic output of memory, as narratives of remembrance, as tools of power and re-inscription, and as means of imagination and re-construction and de-construction. Philosophers and artists have often used maps or trajectories as metaphors for human life. Gilles Deleuze, Amin Maalouf and Michel Serres point to the importance of origin and trajectory, of rootedness and choice. Italo Calvino, Jorge Borges and Peter Greenaway use cartography in their narratives and movies as the ultimate artful practice for expressing human experience over time. These narratives sustain Henri Bergson's reflections on time, memory and perception. They point to the human need to 'cartographise' their world and life, not only for the usefulness of maps for survival, but also as tools for remembrance and identity. Maps open a horizon of possible contraction and expansion of lived moments. Perception over time can be relived in maps; maps can bring back moments of passed life as well as they can project future intentions.
Originele taal-2English
TitelArts of Memory, Arts of Memory: Skilful Practices of Living History
RedacteurenSafet Hadžimuhamedović
Plaats van productieNewcastle
UitgeverijCambridge Scholars Publishing
StatusAccepted/In press - 2013

Bibliografische nota

Safet HadžiMuhamedović

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