Monday, March 17, 2008

Local artist, Darlene Charneco at
Locate/Navigate: exercises in mapping (part 2)La Esquina,
1000 West 25th St, Kansas City, MO
thru March 22

In 2008, we are in the midst of a mapping revolution. Thanks to the personal computer, the Internet, space satellites for data collection, and an expansive array of related technological tools, the scope of information available for mapping has exploded; we simply choose how we would like to select, filter, manipulate, magnify. Tracked by GPS, our physical locations and motions may be mapped in real time (never to be lost again), while at the same time we navigate through a vast virtual network, locating and relocating ourselves perpetually. Using Google Earth to view one's own neighborhood or childhood home; routinely linking Mapquest directions to e-mailed party invites, building networks of Myspace friends: we have become habitual mapmakers as well as blips on a vast array of other people's maps. ...With thick, slick, clear resin surfaces coating colorful, glittery, minutely detailed aerial maps of imaginary interlocking architectures and lawns, Darlene Charneco's sculptural paintings have a terrific physical presence. Yet her appealingly homespun approach is in fact significantly inspired by aspects of cyberspace, particularly its potential for empowering "social, interactive and collaboratively built spaces." Like aerial views, which provide an instant glimpse of patterns and connections not so easily discerned from the ground, so do virtual worlds collectively constructed through games like SimCity and Second Life reveal, more rapidly than in "real life" a vivid picture of societal tendencies and desires." Rather than overly discouraged by what these virtual worlds currently suggest, Charneco is "inspired by the thought that with the continued progress and eventual integration of mapping tools such as geographic information systems with computer gaming technologies, we just may be able to evolve the needed feedback to recover from what seems to be a dangerous myopia." Her work communicates this hopeful sense of a humanitarian re-mapping.Charneco's Sitemap generates specifically from the concept of a memory palace: "a mentally constructed architecture or location which has been used since ancient times as a mnemonic device for the recollection of intentionally embedded information," she explains; and from that of a sitemap: "typically used in web-based information architecture to enable a more thorough exploration of a website's content by search engines." Seeing potential for merging the two types of structures, her Sitemap, with its interlocking parts, meandering passageways, and mushroom-like nodes projecting from various chambers functions as a sort of imagined prototypical structure for storing information to be later accessed/recalled..." and armature for a theoretically infinite number of different exercises. (a catalogue excerpt)

Artists: Corrie Baldauf, Darlene Charneco, Brian Collier, Matt Dehaemers Andrea Flamini, Jorge Garcia, Adriane Herman, Mike Hill, Wopo Holup, Timothy Hutchings, Anne Lindberg, Justin Newhall, Garry Noland, Anne Pearce, Dana Sperry, VxPxC, James Woodfill, and Matt Wycoff. Curator: Kate Hackman

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