From primitive man's efforts to chart the heavens over 15,000 years ago on the walls of the Lascaux caves, to 19th century phrenologist's attempts to diagram the functions of the brain, maps have served as perceptual touchstones for understanding our place in the universe.
The advent of GPS technology has given us the ability to find our position anywhere on Earth with the touch of a finger. But for many creative minds, maps still provide expansive conceptual latitude for investigating far-ranging themes of importance in society today.
That's the focus of "Mapping: Time and Space," a group show opening this Friday night at 7 at ArtCenter/South Florida which seeks to redefine "the map" as a collection of compass points for exploring sex, consumption, communication, and growth.
"Maps have always been this sort of universal method of communication," says Lauren Wagner, director of exhibitions at the Bakehouse Art Complex who curated the show.
"While maps may have traditionally been used to understand a physical space, this exhibition will also explore mapping as it applies to temporal and internal space; such as the mapping of the mind, or the mapping of our own digestive system and consumption," she adds.
Collaborative duo Jake Margolin and Nick Vaughn employ found maps to elaborate their cross-country road trips, their personal sexualities, and individual state's acceptance of same-sex marriages. Their works are superimposed with political and historical documents and cut lace-like to evoke references to anatomical dissections of human vascular systems.
Likewise, Lucinda Linderman's sculptures consider the body and its functions as forms for mapping the consumption of goods over time. For the show she has created a piece fueled by the digestive system and inspired by personal experience.
Linderman works from tail to mouth to show viewers the consumer products that she purchased in chronological order, the most recent at the head of the sculpture and the oldest at the extremity.
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"The intent and goal of the exhibit is to provide alternative and experimental ways of conceptualizing the map, its meanings and its uses- converting the utilitarian object to a philosophical gateway," Wagner says.
"Mapping: Time and Space," shows through April 14. Event is free to the public. Call 305-674-8278 or visit artcentersf.org.