Experimental Geography

Experimental Geography

Independent Curators International (ICI)

Catalogue cover

September 18, 2008

Experimental Geography
A traveling exhibition organized by iCI, New York
Curated by Nato Thompson
Touring September 2008 through August 2010
On view: September 19 – December 12, 2008

Richard E. Peeler Art Center
DePauw University
Greencastle, Indiana


iCI announces the tour of Experimental Geography, an exhibition that explores the distinctions between geographical study and artistic experience of the earth, as well as the juncture where the two realms collide and possibly make a new field altogether. The exhibition presents a panoptic view of this new practice through a wide range of mediums including interactive computer units, sound and video installations, photography, sculpture, and experimental cartography created by 18 artists or artist teams from six countries.

Experimental Geography, curated by Nato Thompson and organized and circulated by iCI, will premiere at the Richard E. Peeler Art Center, DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, on September 19 where it will be on view through December 12, 2008. The exhibition will travel through August 2010 with presentations at the Rochester Art Center, Rochester, Minnesota, February 7 – April 18, 2009; The Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 28 – September 20, 2009; and the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine, February 21 – May 30, 2010. Additional venues will be announced.

Geography can involve the study of specific histories, sites, and memories. Every estuary, landfill, and cul-de-sac has a story to tell. The task of the geographer is to alert us to what is directly in front of us, while the task of the experimental geographer—an amalgam of scientist, artist, and explorer—is to do so in a manner that deploys aesthetics, ambiguity, poetry, and a dash of empiricism.

The manifestations of “experimental geography” (a term coined by geographer Trevor Paglen in 2002) run the gamut of contemporary art practice: sewn cloth cities that spill out of suitcases, bus tours through water treatment centers, performers climbing up the sides of buildings, and sound art of the breaths exhaled in running the evacuation route of Boston. In the hands of contemporary artists, the study of humanity’s engagement with the earth’s topography becomes a riddle best solved in experimental fashion.

The approaches used by the artists featured in Experimental Geography range from a poetic conflation of humanity and the earth to more empirical studies of our planet. Ilana Halperin melds immediate physical and personal actions with geologic contexts; she offers poetic conflations of differing fields of interest. Creating projects that are more empirically minded, the Center for Land Use Interpretation (CLUI), a research organization, explores the nature and extent of human interaction with the earth’s surface, embracing a multidisciplinary approach to fulfilling its mission. Using skill sets culled from the toolbox of geography, the work re-familiarizes the viewer with the overlooked American landscape including man-made islands, submerged cities, traffic in Los Angeles, and the broadcast antennas in the San Gabriel Mountains, and other details drawn from everyday experience.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated 168-page catalogue co-published by iCI and Melville House Publishing. The catalogue includes essays by curator Nato Thompson, art historian Jeffrey Kastner, and artist Trevor Paglen; artist’s statements; and brief texts on varies forms of artistic practice evident in the exhibition.

Experimental Geography is a traveling exhibition organized and circulated by iCI (Independent Curators International), New York. The guest curator for the exhibition is Nato Thompson. The exhibition, tour, and catalogue are made possible, in part, by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the iCI Advocates, the iCI Partners, Gerrit L. and Sydie Lansing, and Barbara and John Robinson.

Artists in exhibition
Francis Alÿs
AREA Chicago
The Center for Land Use Interpretation
The Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP)
kanarinka (Catherine D’Ignazio)
Ilana Halperin
Lize Mogel
Trevor Paglen
Raqs Media Collective
Ellen Rothenberg
Deborah Stratman
Julia Meltzer and David Thorne
Daniel Tucker (project organizer) The We Are Here Map Archive
Alex Villar
Yin Xiuzhen

Exhibition Itinerary
Richard E. Peeler Art Center, DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana
September 19 – December 12, 2008

Rochester Art Center, Rochester, Minnesota
February 7 – April 18, 2009

The Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 28 – September 20, 2009

Colby College Museum of Art, Colby College, Waterville, Maine
February 21 – May 30, 2010

Experience new art
Independent Curators International
799 Broadway, Suite 205
New York, NY 10003

Independent Curators International

RSVP for Experimental Geography
Independent Curators International (ICI)
September 18, 2008

Thank you for your RSVP.

Independent Curators International (ICI) will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.