'Refusing the world picture offered us': maps of global implication, violence and hope
Last modified: 2011-04-14
How to gain an understanding of one’s position within the global networks of contemporary capitalism? How to overcome senses of disorientation that hinder individual and collective abilities to act and struggle through finding new ways to represent an (ultimately unrepresentable) social totality? These were questions famously posed by Fredric Jameson in his calls for an aesthetic of cognitive mapping more than two decades ago, as part of his critical analysis of postmodernism as 'the cultural logic of late capitalism'. At the time they generated much critical debate. Yet his calls for cognitive maps that reject old models for the invention of new forms, and that look towards as yet unimaginable modes of representation, appear to have found resonance in some of the extraordinary proliferation of radical cartographic experimentation by artists, activists and others in recent years. This paper, part of a wider project on these themes, focuses on selected artistic cartographies and their significance for what Jameson termed a ‘pedagogical political culture’. It considers their performative modes and the difficulties they vividly confront, as they refuse dominant world pictures and seek to chart global interconnections, lines of everyday violence and resources of hope.