Archipelagic Counternarratives and Dream Geographies

Authors: Joseph Palis*, University of the Philippines-Diliman
Topics: Cultural Geography, Asia, Political Geography
Keywords: countercartography, creative geographies, art, Philippines
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Council Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In 2010 Denis Wood argued: “…[A]mong counter-mapping strategies, none mounts the assault on the prerogatives of professional mapmakers that map art does, art … made as, with, or about maps” (2010, 189; emphasis in original). This presentation discusses processual practices of countermapping in the Philippines: art maps which are reconfigurations and re-assemblies of ‘official’ maps whose creation and authentication were legitimized by hegemonic state power to represent the modern nation-state. In the case of Filipino artist Cian Dayrit’s countermapped art works, these are interventions that interrogate the role of state power in standardizing and legitimizing a specific and particular brand of nationalism. Dayrit’s cartographically-informed art incorporates maps that destabilize the emblem of imperial and colonial power. Likewise, the art works of Mark Salvatus, Mideo Cruz, and Francis Commeyne embody the emotional and affective geographies of urban subalterns who navigate the labyrinth of institutionally and discursively violent terrains of Metro Manila. The maps provide an alternative representation of geoaffective dislocations and institutionalized marginalization due to spatial elitism. I argue that these cartographic efforts and interventionist art maps assist in destabilizing commonly-held cartographic imaginations that were shaped and reinforced by normalized state violence abetted by vestiges of colonial legacies in the Philippines.

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