Mapping Modernity

Article published: Monday, November 29th 2010

Latitude, the latest exhibition hosted by the Manchester Modernist Society, is a fresh and alternative insight into artistic map making. Inspired by the Society’s own collection of maps, the exhibition showcases the work of 12 local artists and designers whose cartographic creations evoke various forms of cultural expression throughout urban spaces in Manchester, Salford – and beyond the rainy cities.

As the exhibition demonstrates, mapping the modern city is not simply a question of charting its geographical boundaries. Instead, the artists seek to capture the variety of emotions, identities, and cultures within the city; to breathe life into depictions of its physical and cultural spaces. This approach is clearly evident in the work of exhibiting artist Daksha Patel. Patel’s creation Route Map re-imagines Manchester’s roads and waterways as an X-ray of pulsating blood vessels. The city’s communication systems become part of a larger living and breathing organism, whose vital vessels connect its many diverse and creative communities.

No Boundaries, a mixed media exhibit by the artist Mark Lomax, seeks to redefine the traditional geographic and social barriers which divide communities and nations. The artist combines fragments of real printed maps with wax, paint and plaster to create a less static conception of geographic frontiers. This novel form of a map challenges the traditionally held conception of national borders and social barriers as fundamentally fixed and unchanging facets of human society.

Daskha Patel - 'Route Map'

Indeed one of the most striking features of the exhibition is the political engagement of the artists. Created by the Ultimate Holding Company, a radical design collective based in the centre of Manchester, Heathrow Map was devised as part of the Greenpeace No Third Runway campaign. The map tracks the progress of the thousand-or-so planes which took off from Heathrow airport during a twenty-four hour period in 2007. The grey trails etched on the plain white surface of the map represent the inerasable effect of aviation industry pollution on the earth’s natural environment. As such, the map itself becomes a political tool which encourages its viewers to actively engage in the politics of climate change.

Spike Dennis - 'Malformed Aura'Emotive, evocative, and engaging from start to finish, this exhibition provides a fascinating insight into map making and urban society.

Robin Macdonald

Latitude exhibition was running in November. Click here for more information on the Manchester Modernist Society.

More: Culture, Exhibition


  1. I Love this city, Also famous for the game of Football. exhibition is the full package. political or education discus or learn what ever you want.

    Comment by loans by text on May 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm

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