New Article by Iain Biggs on "Deep Mapping" is Published

Iain Biggs, MST co-convener, has published  the article: “The spaces of ‘Deep Mapping’: A partial account” in The Journal of Arts and Communities (Vol 2 no 1 pp 5-25).


This article sets out an understanding of the emergent practices collectively referred to as `deep mapping’. It adopts Mike Pearson’s view that the optimal deep mapping takes `region as its optic’ (2006), while also recognizing the value of smaller-scale approaches. It draws on Kenneth Frampton’s Critical Regionalism to underpin deep mapping’s environmental and social dimensions and provide a productive counterpoint to its ethno-autographic element and its focus on a `militant particularism’ able to facilitate `the passage from memory to hope, from past to future’ (Harvey 1996). Critical Regionalism is taken here as a `post-disciplinary’ poetics that interweaves a multiplicity of `creative’ and `scientific’ material to enact, in the socio-geographical domain, John Wylie’s understanding that `landscape is tension’ (2007). Deep mapping is presented as offering a multidimensional understanding of place that enacts these tensions through our engagement with a second, specifically cultural, space-between, understood here as a metaxy. It is only in this space that we are able to put into practice Geraldine Finn’s insight that, while we cannot do without categorical thinking, `we are always both more and less than the categories that name and divide us’ (1996). The argument put forward here locates this active social space between the institutional worlds of art and of the university as that with which deep mapping specifically engages as a discrete practice. It posits that an `open’ deep mapping draws on the resources `managed’ by each institutional world so as to maintain a critical solicitude towards both professional worlds while remaining non-aligned with the presuppositions of either.

MST in Minneapolis in 2012 and musings on "Site and Incitement"


The Mapping Spectral Traces network is planning an exhibition/symposium in Minneapolis (Mill Ruins Park is seen in the photo above) and the University of Minnesota in October 2012. As part of our preliminary planning and discussions we have learned that the University’s Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) has tentatively set the topic of “Site and Incitement” as their theme for 2012-13, which may provide an exciting opportunity for MST to connect with a much larger audience.

“The Institute for Advanced Study seeks to ignite creative, innovative, and profound research and discovery in the sciences, humanities, and the arts. The Institute for Advanced Study is a site, concept, and a community dedicated to public and intellectual exchanges across the fields of human endeavor.” See

In response to the theme/ideas of “site” and “Incitement”, a few of us have been in informal conversation. MST member David Smith sent me the following musing and is willing to share it. Thanks David – and any/all posts welcome and invited on these ideas!

“I was thinking about incitement beyond the legal (and negative) definition, which I read up as:

Middle English encyten, from Old French enciter, from Latin incitre, to urge forward : in-, intensive pref.; see in-2 + citre,to stimulate, frequentative of cire, to put in motion; see kei-2 in Indo-European roots. (

This is, I’m guessing, the intention of the title, and I don’t necessarily see it as a restriction on our thinking. My efforts to incite are recently influenced by my MA reading, in particular John Wylie’s “Landscape” and Jane Bennett’s “The Enchantment of Modern Life” (the titles of which speak for themselves). I can’t quote chapter and verse from them, and would need to revisit them to get to the specifics of what drew me to them in the first place. It is, however, enchantment, which is easy to lose in adulthood, that I want to try to put back in our lives, for a short while at least. It’s also the case that by engaging with our environment in this way, we become more in tune with it, stop taking it for granted, and begin to care for and seek to protect it.

The work of our park action group stands as a testament to that, where social events, such as the fun day, lead on to other events. For example in the action groups Spring Clean, families come out for a morning and help with a bit of a litter clear up sometime during the late winter/spring months.

Also a personal incident stands out for me. My friend and her four year old son took one of my walks during the September Art trail one year. The walk contained a sound collage and images of fireworks/bonfire that had taken place in the park the previous year. During the walk he kept making his mother go back into that region to revisit the sounds and images. Eventually he sat down on a nearby bench. When asked why, he told her he wanted to wait for bonfire night.”

Sohei Nishino


Sohei Nishino is a Japanese artist who began his series Diorama Map as a university student at Osaka University of Arts. “Diorama Map is created from his memory as layered icons of the city.  The creation of a Diorama Map takes the following method; walking around the chosen city on foot; shooting from various location with film; pasting and arranging with enormous mounds of pieces. Consisting of eight cities, Diorama Map is still ongoing and will be developed in cities all over the world in the future.”