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Critical Mapping
of the Now

Expedition 1 – a mapping of the now – was launched with the goal of finding stories of interaction and communication in public space and to capture them in the form of a map. The expedition was hosted by Tina Frank & Marianne Pührerfellner, Department Visual Communication.

Taking the pluralization of society as a starting point, we searched for signs and traces of how different groups of people communicate and network with each other. We were looking for spaces, objects, and relationships that could point us towards a coexistence of diversities. The question was: Where and how can we find instances of togetherness, of exchange, of spending time with each other in (online) public space, today?

We wanted to understand what the current NOW is, how the relationships between us are revealed, in order to understand how social coexistence grows. We tried to look at the many differences the world provides.

The expedition started with an introduction by Dr. Yvonne Franz, University of Vienna, showing how signs in an urban environment are read and interpreted – and which methods can be used to deconstruct them. Tina Frank then explained how to read and draw maps. The saying “Hic Sunt Dracones” (Here Be Dragons) referred to places on old maps where possibly dangerous or unknown situations at sea could be found. It was meant to serve as a motto for all those things we cannot see directly; for places where monsters or potentials we do not yet know are located, maybe because we tend to overlook them.

The students created maps which can serve as starting points for exploring the NOW. They become tools through which not only objects in specific locations are made visible, but also relationships between people,  between society, the larger world and nature.