cultural mapping zine

This zine is the first of many zines that use different media to research a certain topic. For this first one, we decided to go with the theme of the map and the act of mapping. There are two main reasons for this. First of all, as a collective, we are interested in setting up projects in and with neighbourhoods. Projects that work with people and places beyond regular art circuits. Our projects called “Stories lived and to be lived” and “Memory Map” were examples of our mission to engage with locals and create bridges between artists, institutions and inhabitants. Certain communities and neighbourhoods are often neglected, but with care, life can become visible on the map.

The second reason is our nomadic existence. Through a lack of a fixed project space or office, we have been exploring the city with each new project. This has been a very interesting process but also comes with challenges regarding visibility. To have a space is to exist, so it seems. In this way, this zine is a homage to the nomadic journey of the past year. We will therefore start with three other nomadic organisations in Lisbon. 

Afterwards, we will research the map as a concept and social construct on three levels: the inhabitants, the authority, and the map as the instrument. We do this through a selection of artworks made by artists based all around the world. In this way, the zine becomes a portable collection of thoughts and activities, a portable hub. Maybe we can help to start your journey by thinking about maps, navigation, and nomadism.


Bairro em Festa project


Artistas Anónimos

Artistic practice can be a lonely place. For that reason, once a month, we gather in a group for mutual support, focused in particular on the practice of visual arts.

Artistas Anónimos is a community of people who share their experiences, their strength and hope to solve their common problem and help others to continue making art in a motivated, healthy and sustainable way.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to continue making art.

Lisbon Drawing Club

Lisbon Drawing Club is a community of life model drawing lovers who meet regularly to draw and share a good time. Each session is organised in a different location around the city, which is normally not accessible to draw in. The city is explored in a unique way. In this way a hub/ community is built that sees its nomadic nature as a strength more than a disadvantage.

Lisbonsketchers is an urban sketchers community in the Lisbon area. The goal of the community is to explore the city in different ways, draw the daily life in the streets and share personal and artistic stories with each other. Weekly meetings are organised in different places, encouraging people to express themselves and find their own essence of the site. After almost a year of exploration, the group represented this activity on a map accompanied by on-site sketches. In this way, the map shows a changing city through specific moments that were grasped in sketches. The group is free and open to people of any age, social class, and nationality.

Artists hubs

The inhabitants
The authority
The instrument


 micro and macro

What a map represents is almost always fixed, sturdy and unlikely to move in the following decades. It is static and seems to be neutral or even indifferent to movement. On the other hand it is the most important instrument to make movement happen.

How many times did you bump into a stranger while figuring out which way to go, looking at your screen and following the pivoting of the map? How many times did you approach someone to ask the way when getting lost. Did you ever think: “If I look like I know where I’m going, everything will be fine”? All these small human encounters come from maps and movements. Ligia Fernandes wrote about them from the perspective of love. When you zoom out, you bump into the work Spoglie, Studio #5. Which is an attempt to add this second layer of movement. Microscale becomes bigger when it gets tangled, as if the inhabitants were strands of hair, forming knots, forming networks. The last work in this section is one of Yongxuan Zheng. Where the unicity of one Chinese character, meaning mesh, is the beginning for a map-like structure, filled with associations and other Chinese characters. 

Is it possible to map human experiences within the frame and system of a map? How can we tell subjective and hyperpersonal experiences through the indifferent map? The work of Valentina Sarmiento Cruz is a possible answer. She tells a story using Google Street view where the images are created as mere registration. She wades through them and reconstructs her own memories of 3 places. At one point the street view captures protesters by accident. It is here that the map and the individual emotion meet. Manu romeiro maps her city and her experience in it through fine line drawings. It is another way to remember and capture the places we love.  Fast life uses the geographical map and its factuality as an advantage. Here the map's indifference is almost an advantage. By delineating on it the origins of popular and exotic foods, the impossible distances they have to cross,  become clear. It reawakens awareness of things we take for granted.  The visual and tactile net that is stretched makes privileges visible. The map here becomes a mirror in which we encounter ourselves.

Another way of intertwining human experience and the map is in astrological maps. The idea that the movement and alignment of stars and planets influences us. Can we use astrology to describe the city? And does the city have a psyche? All these questions are asked in the work of Berfin Alyeşi. She links the astrological reading of the city with the events in the city. In this way a poetic connection is made between micro and macro, between human and map, movement and staticness.  

As mentioned, maps are capable of showing the past and present. But how can we see into the future? Is it possible to shape the future on a map?
Future Archeology deals in part with this. In the work, Sui-Hin MAK proposes what will be found of us in the future. What will remain? The result is an audio guide through the city of Hong Kong, with possible elements.

Spoglie, Studio #5  

Artist: Eleonora Gugliotta ︎ ︎
Eleonora Gugliotta was born in 1989 in Sicily (Italy) and graduated from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan in Contemporary Decoration. In 2017 she collaborated with the Spain pavilion during the Architecture Biennale, in 2018 she was present with a project at MACRO in Rome and in 2019 she won the first prize at the Paratissima Art Fair Turin. In 2022 she organizes and manages exhibitions of her and other artists at her Atelier in Milan, the city in which she is also a teacher of Graphic and Pictorial Disciplines in an Art School. She has participated in various group exhibitions, presenting installations, photographic projects, videos and performances.

In her works, the artist has always preferred the use of natural filaments - be they wool or hair - transforming them into real signs, strokes like those outlined by a pen that draws what the hand orders and the mind decides. Relative to the space of action they are like microelements that become at the same time points of connection and junction as well as visible trails of the movement of man in space. Along with geographical maps, hair is one of the two main elements compared and on which the game of stairs created with the Spoglie series of collages focuses. Over the random signs and shapes of the maps - formed by roads, rivers and coasts - the artist superimposes a tangle of hair that becomes one with the surface, creating new paths. The natural element takes on soft and sinuous shapes, contrasting with the often-angular signs of the maps and symbolically tracing the chaotic flow of man on earth. In a game between micro and macro, organic traces of man are mixed with paths made invisible, but both designed following the typically human nature of transforming the space around oneself.

“Connection (络)” 

Artist: Yongxuan Zheng ︎ 
Yongxuan Zheng is a Nscad's printmaking student. Focus on learning and practising different printmaking techniques, such as screen printing, intaglio, or relief.  

As a non-native English speaker, living in Canada is often plagued by language barriers and culture shock. After learning printmaking, I try to use printmaking as my third language, and use my mother tongue, Chinese characters, as materials to express my ideas. This print is the third work of my Chinese character series. The big character in the background means mesh or net in Chinese, and when it is combined with other character to vocabulary, it can derive meanings such as network, connection, association, etc. I use this big character as a skeleton to draw a map of the city and use more small fonts to build it. They are like buildings, vehicles, and people in the city. The contents of these small fonts are related to history and culture.

Mapping a place out of love

Artist: Lígia Fernandes ︎ ︎
Lígia Fernandes is a Portuguese visual artist based between Estonia and Portugal, focused on the intersection between visual arts, socially engaged art, and community economies. In her work, she uses drawing and painting as tools to explore cultural universes, ethnographies, and identities, and organizing as a means to create space for sharing, collaboration, and creation

What happens if we map a place out of love?
What does it mean to map a place out of love?

When approaching a new territory, we are aware of our conditions. We might come with some predetermined questions. We might have already heard about the struggles of the place. Also the tensions. Perhaps it is gentrification, police brutality, tensions between social groups and ethnicities, poverty and marginalisation. We heard about these things, and we want to find out more.


“La eterna primavera”

Artist: Valentina Sarmiento Cruz  ︎ ︎ ︎
Valentina Sarmiento Cruz is an independent writer and researcher that seeks multimedia outputs of her work. She is interested in spatial construction and belonging as well as in spaces that fail the urban/rural dichotomy. She developed this project while living in Chicago, U.S. 

La eterna primavera is a web-based project that explores the Mexican city of Cuernavaca through the lives of three monuments. Using Google Street View to digitally trace and track her memories, Valentina Sarmiento Cruz articulates a personal account of her hometown. In collaboration with programmer Roberto Hidalgo and considering that the research and creative processes are rooted in Google Maps, the project mimics the mapping platform to think about how we learn about, interact with, and remember space – especially when we have no physical access to it. 


The construction of maps has long belonged to those who claim authority. We construct maps and establish borders to separate or unify inhabitants, cultures, and identities. Do we see how far power stretches? Do we see injustice or resistance? The memories of people who live on the land? Maps as “The Authority” shows a selection of artworks reflecting, questioning and reimagining mapping and its purpose. The maps of today still use the same depiction; of objects, regions, lines,  landscapes. Is it possible to show the reality of the inhabitants’ lives? As we evolve as societies, we create new networks, (power) dynamics, and identities. This constant movement of the structured life, changes of ownership and authorities may take many realities as we collectively (re)construct them.

Fe Simeoni shows us borders as pieces of our collective imaginations. By cutting the Mediterranean Sea into 23 triangles and rearranging the coastline, a closed island is created. Mare nostrum becomes terra nostra connecting Venice and Tunis, Thessaloniki and Alexandria. What changes would such a shift create? Our identities  are deeply rooted in the landscape we grew out of  - as Laura Kern’s piece titled “Chipping” deals with the notion of culture and geography. Culture is constructed through the life of generations lived by sea, mountains or great plains. Or in fact, our differences were always constructed by geographical features, imagined connotations of east and west, north and south. Gabriela Manfredini looks at our world map as a chess game; strategically built, but variable. Would then the idea of a borderless melting pot be too far-fetched?

As these three works look at our maps as constructions of societies we invite you to look closer and think about how authority decides visibility. Bahar Majdzadeh creates the “Map of Absentees”, an intelligible link between public space, political violence and group memory. The open project shows fifteen political Iranian refugees whose exile originated in the political destruction that occurred in Iran between 1979 and 1988. Each voice tells a memory, a thought, an analysis or an event linked to a specific place in Tehran. The stories together with the map of the city try to create a contrast between the past and the present. The Map of the Absentees can be comprehended as a small act of resistance in the face of the map’s authoritarian power. Diego Inestrillas calls the authorities into question as femicides in Mexico continue to increase and the cases of missing persons number a staggering 110.000. The gravity of invisibility is also shown by Afef Omri in the work called “My place in the city”. The "right to the city" is subject to historical and cultural construction. At first glance, social mixing seems to be a given, except that access to urbanity has never been democratic. The use of public space seems to consciously respond to gender norms, to gendered behavioural codes. As “women,’ we develop micro-tactics of protection based on where we go, and who we are surrounded by.

George Mercurius’s ongoing photography project called “The Golden Ear” shows authority from a different angle. The project is a journey to explore the Coptic Orthodox monastic life in Egypt. It seeks to understand the daily routine and spiritual practices of modern-day monks, as well as what life was like in Qalali in the middle of the desert and in the mountains. May we find authority in institutionalised religious practice? Or in those who choose to leave mainstream society and practise voluntary asceticism?


Mediterraneo Upside Down  

Artist: Fe Simeoni ︎ ︎
Fe Simeon is an information designer based between Treviso and Helsinki. His practice involves data visualisations and maps for genetic research, geopolitical journalism and education.

Maps are great for establishing borders. But what if we cut maps with scissors and redefine limits and connections? We might uncover new geographies where we are closer than the expected. Borders are pieces of collective imaginations. "Mediterraneo Upside Down" sliced the Mediterranean Sea into 23 triangles, rearranging the coastline to create a closed island. Land connections could then be drawn between Venice and Tunis, Tessaloniki and Alexandria. From mare nostrum to terra nostra.


Artist: Laura Kern ︎ ︎
Growing up in rural Pennsylvania deeply impacted my way of life and thinking. My work examines the relationship between culture and landscape. I question how identity, society and geography inform one another.  I use various media, including found objects, fabric, and metal, to visualise this relationship. These conglomerations of found and created objects explore landscapes in relation to social issues.

studies for chessboard I, II

Artist: Gabriela Manfredini ︎ 
Gabriela Manfredini is a Brazilian artist based in Porto. Her artistic practice is multidisciplinary, but in the past three years, she has been working mostly with drawing and performance. She is interested in addressing themes such as feminism and Anthropocene and has recently focused on investigating the relations of contemporary work culture, body and productivity to create performances.

Joaquín Torres García's America Inverted (1943) served as the origin for the idea of retracing and repositioning the world map. The world can be divided into countries, into east/west or north/south. However, the game of chess was used to rethink these divisions and resignify existing borders. Can we imagine a future world where borders will not be necessary?

Map of absentees

Artist: Bahar Majdzadeh ︎ 
Bahar Majdzadeh is an Iranian artist-researcher who lives and works between Paris and Marseille. He also teaches theoretical and practical courses in visual and contemporary arts at Aix-Marseille University and pursues a practice-based research approach.

Scattered all around the world, fifteen political Iranian refugees whose exile originated in the political destruction that occurred in Iran between 1979 and 1988 have participated in the creation of this map.More specifically they were militants of different political currents who were involved in the revolution against the Shah, and later opposed the new repressive Islamic regime. Consequently, in order to stay alive or to continue their political struggle they had no choice but to leave their country. These are people who see exile as a political stand, as the continuation of a struggle, as a resistance, symbolic as it may be. Each voice tells a memory, a thought, an analysis or an event linked to a specific place in Tehran. These voices that do not allow for building a historical and detailed story, try to establish, through the actual map of Tehran, a dialectical relation between the past and the present. The Map of the Absentees, which is an open project, can be comprehended as a small act of resistance in the face of the map’s authoritarian power. It is the transposition of a sound cartographic installation.


Imagine the following scene. You have a rendezvous with a friend. Before you leave the house, you check your phone for the quickest way to the café where you will meet. In the stairwell, you run past the signs indicating the evacuation route, heading for the subway. There, the various lines and stops line the walls as if it was an abstract artwork.  You take one last look and move on. While catching up with coffee, you talk about moving, vacation trips. When you get home, you check your health app, the altitudes and how you walked that day. It was a good day because the number of steps was reached.

This situation seems very mundane but is stocked with maps. Although in different forms, and themes, they all have the same purpose. Navigation and orientation and documentation for the individual. Enabling efficient navigation and orientation.  The system and symbols used are so familiar to us that we don't notice them anymore. Subtly, they have made their way into almost every aspect of our lives. The first three works address this.  By referring to one of the symbols of the map they are able to make a simple and distilled act meaningful. The turning of a page becomes the creation of a relief in ‘From Occident to Accident’.  In  Elad Argaman’s work, a simple plastic pipe takes the lead role. As a part of a bigger installation and with extra sound added, the pipe guides the visitors. Outside the exhibition walls, it functions as a way to transport and make the movement of water possible, thus becoming an instrument of navigation. Besides this, the visual immediately resonates with the lines of the map or  the trajectory one has to take to get from one point to the other.  Lastly, Farah al Sidiky shows us the planning of a house. She researches the gap between what is on paper and the material built.

Then there is navigation. What if the map is not available? Is there an alternative? Carmen Bioque and Salma Shehattah propose a new way of  navigation. With a poem of Lorca as a guide,  Bioque walks around the city. She rediscovers statues, both navigation points as well as objects and artworks. They are fixed points and therefore isolated in an always-moving environment of the city. We could say that Shehattah does the same with its organic counterpart, trees. They are fixed in the same place. Give shade and transform the city with each season. Throughout the work, she tries to capture the shared memories of people and trees. Both works can be seen as a homage to the act of walking and strolling around, which goes against the efficiency that is radiated by the map. The artist Ane Bonde Rolsted goes even further. What if we don't know the map? By tracking a dog's steps and path with a GPS, she shows pure organic movement. In doing so, she also addresses the role between humans and nature and how we control the latter.

The project 'Contrasto' also works around the particular relationship between man and nature. Contrasto meansmeans ‘clash’ or quarrel but also the juxtaposition of different things.The participants made an humanistic interpretation map of the Uzzone Valley, following the ‘Anello Bello’ trekking route.  Nature and human elements here have their own colour. By looking through coloured glasses, one or the other is visible.

Another work that goes against the straight line that the map seems to impose on us again and again is that of Elena Grossi. The straight line becomes a point. She goes in search of the empty spaces on the digital map.There, orientation is much harder and the views are more unusual. The series shows photographs that people have taken in such places. All of them are characterised by poorly functioning/used technology. It makes us question the relation we have to nature and the technology capturing it.  Aurélie d’Incau experiments with a storytelling game on how to integrate data collection into play. By making a pizza map during a participatory storytelling project, the maps serves as an instrument to locate strange, and as well as ordinary affairs. By playing with roles, secrets, and strangeness, the project builds a map from participants' collective imagination.

From occident to accident

Artist: Francisco Menezes  
Fransisco Menezes, 1993,  is a multidisciplinary artist based in Lisbon. He holds a degree in sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon and completed the Maumaus International Study Program. Selected exhibitions in the past include the Paula Rego Prize at CHPR (2017, 2018), Essays on Collaboration at Pousio, Lovers, and Our Slice of Time at Zaratan (2022) among others.

The Rumble

Artist: Elad Argaman ︎
Elad Argaman is an American artist based in London, England. His research and artistic practice are centred around the collision of various aspects, including memory, identity, language, symbolism, mythology, as well as deep time. His work spans across a variety of mediums, including sculpture, painting, moving image, and installation, and is deeply rooted in the exploration of these complex themes.


This striking 6-meter plastic pipe was featured as part of a larger installation in 2022, which explored the theme of urban sprawl as a living organism, where flesh and cement coalesce. The pipe not only serves as a visually arresting element of the installation but also functions as a sound piece, with the inclusion of loud drums played from within the pipe (provided and recorded by a musician). The beat of the drums serves as a navigational tool for the viewer, leading them through the space and creating a sense of movement and exploration. As a component of the larger installation, this piece offers a unique perspective on the relationship between the natural and built environments, creating a thought-provoking and immersive experience for viewers.

You are/were here

Artist: Farah Al Sidiky ︎
Farah Al Sidiky is a multi-disciplinary artist, curator and writer based in Qatar.
Her research explores the formation of narratives through imagery and text. She graduated in Fine Art and Contemporary Art Theory. Her current artistic practice uses found and made materials to demonstrate frames of temporality and how they are layered in different modes of reading. 

Exploring modes of map making before and after a build. What makes a set structed housing unit into the intangible lived home, and the transitions between.
Mixed Media.

Lorca and the existential rhythm of nature 

Artist: Carmen Bioque ︎ ︎
Carmen Bioque (she/her) is a Lisbon based curator and researcher in the field of contemporary art with a special interest in philosophy, theory, and aesthetics, and a great passion for film, hybrid art practices linked to the moving image and electronic music. She is a multimedia artist working primarily with digital and analog photography, collage and video-installation with a key concern in the synergies between imagescape and soundscape as to portray the emotional innerscapes of the mind and to build poetic visual essays. Lastly she is a DJ by the aka of Ácida Bliss as a continuation of my enquire into soundscape. 

Audiovisual poem in a multiple projection video-installation.
based in Lisbon, Portugal