DAK’ART 2016 / LA MEDINA. Traditions, transmissions and contemporary society / Isolated Artist Residency – part of the OFF program of the DAKAR BIENNALE OF CONTEMPORARY ART 2016 / 1st-12th May. Dakar, Senegal
Prisoners / 2016 / Installation / Nails, string and spray / 300 x 600 x 5400 cm
PRISONERS / La Medina Cartography Project. (Dakar, 2016)
The process of drawing or tracing lines is to territory what writing is to language. In the territory, the tracing of a line stands as a critical decision about the analysis or construction of a site. Informal maps have been, since prehistory, a way not only of recognizing the structure of the territory but also a way of transmission – the passing of tradition from one generation to another.
Cultures are defined by the transmission of language – the different symbols that enable tradition with its own cultural value. One could argue that not every traditional element is meant to survive in history. Tradition is formed by the ensemble of circumstantial elements that were able to find their logical place in human culture. There are a great number of traditional figures whose function has become obsolete before the eyes of global culture. Tradition should be able to reinterpret and transform its main elements in every phase of the human specie. Language evolves. Words are adapted to modern speaking. Symbols that are no longer needed, because their signification has lost all meaning in the modern world, are suppressed and left behind as traces of different paths of human history.
Focusing on the subject of Contemporary society keeping its own tradition, the proposal for the Medina Cartography project consists on tracing (writing) a series of informal maps as a method of recognizing, from the external view of a first time visitor, some of the anthropological layers that have built the tradition of the community of La Medina in the city of Dakar.