Text artist's book The Map is not the territory (Montedellarte)


The fog and the misunderstanding

2018, Cecilia Guida (Former Director and Curator of UNIDEE-University of Ideas)


Walking affirms, suspects, tries out, transgresses, respects, etc., the trajectories it ‘speaks.’  Michel de Certeau

On 1 October 2017, not even the heavy fog could deter Griet Dobbels and a small crowd of people from encircling Monte Cucco as though embracing the mountain. Equipped with mobile phones, they were walking along a contour line by following the instructions from a digital app. The participants recount a dream-like experience: the untimely fog penetrated right through to the bone and shrouded the landscape, their vision was blurred, they could not distinguish details, lost spatial references, moved hesitantly, held hands as they inched along, a woman tripped, a man fell, a few young girls got lost... The horizon was real, yet fluid.

The Situationists worked with détournementsand dérives; Stanley Brouwn, obsessed with distance and direction, drew personal maps of the city of Amsterdam; Francis Alÿs redesigned areas in crisis or conflict; locative art uses media devices and GPS to remap territories. Artists have been trying to resolve the misunderstandingof representing the space of human life as something unequivocal. In so doing, they strive to liberate people – physically, socially and politically – from defined cognitive forms and structures. The alternative is a dynamic, experiential and collaborative form of cartography that leads towards an evolution in culture and identity.

More than an artistic event, Montedellarte seems to be a segment of a bigger, nomadic and digital cultural project, one that exists in both a physical and virtual space. From the trails of Monte Cucco in Piedmont, and the collaborations involving institutions, associations and locals, the project migrated to www.montedellarte.com. The website addresses all those who took part in the virtual performance and invites them to revisit it – why not? –  while also encouraging participation in a future action at another location. And through this, they will be searching for the new poetical and unrhetorical itineraries that might unfold into an eventual and infinite socio-political consciousness.