Map Situation literally détournes, recycles "preexisting artistic elements" into "a new ensemble"(SI), Yoko Ono's "Map Piece." Ono's book, Grapefruit, was originally only released in a run of 500 copies in 1964, as an Artist's book, and included "Map Piece." It was reproduced in 1970, again in 2000. In my analysis, the passage from the limited first run to the mass reproduction of this book, while popularizing it, also reified it still. This mass reproduction functions parallel to the mass media coverage of the French May 1968 events which turned "transgression and subversion" into a "bureaucratic model"- where "neutralized into signs, they are eviscerated of their meaning"(JB 282). In the contemporary art world the avante garde has been "petrified into respectable truths and thus transformed into lies," so I détourn "Map Piece" so as to "reradicalize" its "critical conclusions"(GD 1967 113).
"Map Piece"s marvelous and surreal critical intervention is not just the "production of psychogeographic maps, or even the introduction of alterations such as more or less arbitrarily transposing maps of two different regions" which thereby "clarif[y] certain wanderings that express not subordination to randomness but complete insubordination to habitual influences," but indeed goes a step beyond the simple opposition, the rejection of habitual ways of interacting with geography, of one map to the other towards erasure of the "actual" map in favor of creating an imagined one (GD 1955). Furthermore, although "Map Piece" deploys none of the jargon of critical theorists. Even if it seems strange, it is nonetheless termed in accessible language.
Map Situation is constructed such that the (literal and metaphorical) doorway into the situation is a crucial part of the experience. While in my original conception the situation was to have an element like this, the signs snd symbols, props left over from the film, reused and afixed upon the door, were improvised to supplement the deficiencies done to the film in my clumsy rough and tumble developing of the super 8 reel (indeed, they were the third trial after improperly loading the first two film cartridges, and developing two almost entirely unexposed reels). Entry into the room is conditional upon the receipt of a writing utensil, a slice of paper to scribble on, and a hard, portable surface, like a clipboard or book. My intention is that people have the to opportunity to read "Map Piece" attached to the door, then have the piece demonstrated, with me in the film reading from Grapefruit, actually drawing and following a map, and giving a flower to a stranger at film's end. The hope is that participants will make the connection between what they've just experienced and the drawing tools they've been given, and when prompted at the end of the film to "begin," will begin to draw their own map or engage otherwise in the collective creation of this part of the situation. In this sense, although the piece is a détournment, it is directed not just towards criticism, but even more so towards creating a space for reciprocal communication.
In what ways does Map Situation resist the reification that "Map Piece" has taken on? To begin with, I, the artist, have gone to great lengths to see that I am not alienated from the product of my labor, through that labor's division. In the process of creation, with the exception of the introductory shot, it was my hand that filmed the entire movie, a straight material chemical reaction on the film by light. In developing, it was again my hands that chemically processed the material film-and this hand processing leaves visual traces on the film itself. I was working with my own means of production, with the exception of the darkroom. I even wrote the credit slides by hand. When people experience the situation, it will be me operating the projector, and my live ukulele performance (for multimedia, cinematic/dramatic effect). This last aspect, the live performance guararantees that no two situations will be the same-they are not infinitely reproducable objects of experience, but rather unique participatory ones, or such is my intention. The participartory orientation of the situation seeks allow co-producers to overcome their own communicative/geopgraphic. In terms of the actual space that the situation occurs in, it is not one mapped for artist/cinematic or even educational use, but for youth domesticity, which I am transforming into a radical site. The radical site created is a momentary commune whose content (or lack thereof) is dependent on each co-producer's answer to the question "ok?"- in otherwords, participation is potentaial, but optional.This forfeiture of control is the condition of disalienation found throughout my process- in the choice of film over digital, the choice of developing by hand, and the choice to be vague in my instructions to co-producers.
In terms of the making of the films themselves, I simply thought up the introductory shots I wanted to have a friend shoot for me (at the beginning, I am representend as alienated from my geography, which is paralleled in my lack of direct engagementt in the actual shooting of the film; the campus map that I tear up was made using a photocopier), had them shoot them, and then literally went through with Yoko Ono's directions for "Map Piece" as I fragmentally filmed my journey. They were shot on Super 8 Black and White Tri-X Reveral, while my failures were both Black and White Plus-X reversal. I used the equipment and supplies that were freely or most easily made avaible to me, and bought what I didn't have free access to.
Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. Trans. Ken Knabb. London: Rebel Press, No Copyright.
Video Transfer of the Original (Boooooooooo)
The Yashica 25 Super 8 camera:
The Bell and Howell 346A Super 8 Projector:
Products of participation thus far: