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Variations on a Map

‘Variations on a map’ is an anthology of maps of Palestine, Israel, the West Bank, Biblical Kingdoms, a Roman province, Greater Syria, some Ottoman Sanjaks, a British Colony, etc… The same place represented as many different places, some past, some present, some speculative, some informative and some that never were and never will be.

A map of a country illustrates the general outline of a territory that often pertains historical and political claims. It shows borders, neighbours, some cities, sometimes geological features and more, in the case of these maps, most often more, borderline symbolic.

A map is a representation of a territory from a certain distance; the distance between an image and reality. Reduced to its graphical value, a map becomes a signs, in this political context the signification is significant. This is probably why an informative and factual map of this territory is difficult to decipher, a graphical futility.  

The maps are collected from the web; the process of a disoriented cartographer mapping the virtual reproductions of the phantasmalorias projected onto this territory. Their provenances encompass the spectrum of ideologies orbiting around this territory, their degree of factuality and fictionality vary accordingly.

Those maps are protractions of analogies; from biblical real estate to flooded archipelagos, from bureaucratic empires to generic nationalism, from orientalist baroque to infographic minimalism, from a land with no apparent border to a land of a thousand and one borders.

The maps are subsequently copied and documented in form of miniature watercolours, information is diluted and further reduced to their graphical value, due to the nature of the medium and format. With no mention of their origins, they come together in the realm of representations. The proposition; to map the representations of this territory.

Each map, seen on its own, has its context and supports a specific agenda. Seen together, stripped of their context they illustrate a territory that is a petri dish for projections and a cutting mat.

The maps can be categorized into different series, sets of different variations. In association they create sets of contradictions and tautologies. The only element that seems to be consistent, is that the Dead Sea is shrinking and the lowest point on earth is getting deeper.

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