The cartographer is a live audio/visual documentary about the power of cartography, the possibility, through map visualization and border drawing, to reinvent a space, to give it a different connotation.
By focusing on specific features and components, a map is deliberately drawn to omit some elements (that are considered superfluous or inconvenient) in order to better express the inherent narrative/message that information has to convey to other users.
As the sociologist Benedict Anderson noted in his book Imagined Communities, the role of cartography has been central to the origin of the common and conventional concept of Nation throughout the centuries. Without a universal visualization (an abstraction) of the space shared and lived in by a community it would have been impossible to develop the idea of Nationalism, and to disseminate a sense of national pride and belonging as we understand it in the present day.
Cartography is nowadays fundamental in war political affairs: changing currents territories and remapping geographical borders is equivalent to manipulating culture and everyday habits. An example is the war the Israeli government (with the support of USA and Europe) has been carrying out in Palestine for the past 60 years.
After the erection of a wall to separate the newly formed nation (Israel) by Palestine, the latter is forced to take new form: new borders are drawn that embody, since the early days, a different way to inhabit the space. Some roads are closed and new practice space comes with the segregation politics. By building the wall, claiming parts of the Palestinian for themselves and renaming landmarks using Hebrew names, Israelis rob Palestinians of their land, history and identity. They rewrite geography and history. The new visitors (those lucky enough to get through the strict Israelian checks), will not arrive in Alquds, but in Orshalim.
The performance uses Pure Data real-time programming language as Concept Map tool and consists of three screens and an audio piece. The main screen displays the real-time visualization of the Pure Data live coding (the map), the second one shows video footage filmed in Palestine, the third one alternates quotes from Sacred Landscape by the Israeli cartographer Benvenisti that relate to the map that has been created on the main screen. The accompanying sound piece is a live remixed composition made from different recordings of the cartographer’s monologue. These recordings are the voices of artists and activists of different nationalities who were invited to read out the text in their own language thus creating an immersive global panorama of voices from all over the world.