Initial Research

Looking at maps:

We often see maps as objective representations, they are in fact full off subjective views of the world. Maps also change over time. Borders and boundaries are constantly changing  with wars and politics motion and changes in response to international relations. Many artists have used maps to tell wide-ranging stories about conflict, migration, identity, and social, cultural, or political networks.

Juan Downey made work in relation to his personal experiences. 

In response to a military coup in his native Chile, he embarked on a journey in 1973, traveling from New York to the southernmost tip of South America. Along the way, he videotaped the regional cultures he encountered throughout South America and showed the footage to people he met in the hope that he might bridge the isolation between different communities if they could find commonalities in their everyday experiences.

In this work, he uses the hand-drawn map as a galvanizing symbol to foster a more unified, transnational Latin American identity.


MOMA Learning. (s.d) Juan Downey. At:  (Accessed 20 March 2019)

Mona Hatoum 

  • five color photocopies of maps taken from airline brochures depicting flight routes. 
  • maps detail networks created by travel, according to movement rather than geographic, national, or political boundaries. 
  • Using ink and gouache, Hatoum drew colored lines onto the maps, adding her own hand-drawn abstract designs to the existing webs of the airlines’ routes.
  • when she was 23, she moved to England to escape the civil war that was beginning in Lebanon. Her experience of being displaced by conflict has led her to find inspiration in movement, travel, and the discovery of new cultures, people, and places. 
  • “I do not expect myself to identify completely with any one place.”1 She has said that she considers the paths she drew in Routes II to be “routes for the rootless.”2

Messy Identities

“I’m often asked the same question: ‘What in your work comes from your own culture?’” Mona Hatoum once said. “As if I have a recipe and I can actually isolate the Arab ingredient, the woman ingredient, the Palestinian ingredient. People often expect tidy definitions of otherness, as if identity is something fixed and easily definable.”3 – she is not one of these but a specimen of the amalgamation of all of these identities. 


MOMA Learning. (s.d) Mona Hatoum. At:  (Accessed 20 March 2019)

Rirkrit Tiravanija 

– Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija was born in Argentina and grew up in Thailand, Ethiopia, and Canada. As an adult, he splits his time between New York, Berlin, and Chiang Mai. The three scrolls in Untitled 2008–2011 serve as a record and reflection of his travels. – like my labour intensive drawing I could do a piece for each place I visit: responding and focusing meditating in that moment. Talking time to breathe. Appreciate what you have, ‘life’

At the center of each scroll is a digital print of one of the three passports he has held as an adult. Overlapping the space around these passports are motifs printed using three different techniques: lithography, chine collé, and screenprint. Many of these elements allude to maps, such as plans of cities he visited and lines indicating time zones. Other images refer to artists who have inspired him. 


MOMA Learning. (s.d) Rirkrit Tiravanija. At: (Accessed 20 March 2019) – for image and voice recording. Listen and make notes. Pinpoints the things that I am keen to focus on in this assignment. Finding my place in the world. Understanding it.  

Alighiero Boetti 

  • interested in investigating how the boundaries between countries develop and change over time.
  • By fitting the colors and patterns of each country’s flag within its borders, Boetti visualizes the patterns of territorial ownership and sovereignty around the globe.
  • Boetti commissioned Afghani women to make his designs into embroidered maps.

– “For these works, I made nothing, selected nothing, in the sense that the world is the way it is and I have not drawn it; the flags are those that exist anyway. . . .Once the basic idea is there, the concept, then everything else is chosen.”


MOMA Learning. (s.d) Alighiero Boetti. At: (Accessed 20 March 2019)

Grayson Perry 

  • Grayson Perry used the traditional printmaking techniques of etching and photogravure
  • But instead of locations, his map depicts behaviors and psychological states, 

Its central landforms resemble the left and right halves of the brain. Perry explained that he “tended to put the darker, more subconscious things on the bottom right, because that’s where they are in the brain.”1

New Art, Old Map

Grayson Perry used four plates to create Map of an Englishman. The gaps between the plates resulted in the appearance of thin lines on the print. These lines resemble crease marks, as if this were an antique map that had been folded over and over again.

Grayson Perry’s Inspiration

Perry was inspired to make this work when, at a friend’s house, he saw a world map that fellow British artist Emma Kay had drawn from memory.


MOMA Learning. Grayson Perry. At: (Accessed 20 March 2019)

As I scrolled down on the MOMA learning web page it had a little box ‘Questions and activities’. It gave you 3 activities to do, in relation to these artists works. I felt that this was actually a really good place to start, moving forward with this artists research so I decided to use these activities as a starting point. I thought they would be useful as the 3 activities give me the opportunity to gather a more personal response to the idea of the world. 

The first one:

  1. Make a Mental Map
    A mental map is a person’s internalized representation of the world, combining objective knowledge of the world and your own, subjective perspective.
    Draw your city, town, or neighborhood from your own perspective. What places do you often visit? How do you get there? Without looking at an official map, draw and label places such as your school, the stores you visit, routes you take frequently, your home and the homes of your friends, and other favorite landmarks.
    Compare your map with a partner’s map. What kind of information did your partner include, and what does it reveal about him or her? Did you find anything surprising?
  2. Identity Mapping
    Grayson Perry’s Map of an Englishman (2004) could be interpreted as a representation of his identity and ideas.
    Create a map of your own identity using colored pencils and paper. Your map should encompass aspects of your outer, physical world as well as your inner self and state of mind.
    Before drawing your map, brainstorm a list of words to include. Consider your ambitions, fears, and character traits as well as geographic places of interest. Then think about how to best represent these elements on your map. What kind of geographic landmarks represent the different aspects of your identity?
  3. Shifting Borders
    Alighiero Boetti’s Map of the World depicts international borders at the time it was made, in 1989. Some countries and borders that exist today did not exist then.
    Identify at least 10 flags on Boetti’s map. Use Wikipedia or search elsewhere online to identify which countries the flags belong to.
    Compare Boetti’s map to a map of the world today. What differences do you see between them?
    Pick an area of the map that has changed, and research what has happened with those countries. Has there been conflict in that area? Describe your findings in one or two paragraphs.

MOMA Learning. (s.d) Maps, Borders and Networks.

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