Territory – The Map is Not…

Thanks to dmf for pointing me to this intriguing project: Territory – themapisnot.com

Territory is a literary project about territories and the maps that will always fail to capture them. It’s about the naive dream of objectivity, and how we use the act of representation to both hide and broadcast our subjectivities.

The map has a specific allure. It reduces the complexity of the world to a manageable space, and suggests distant lands are not so distant. In this miniaturized space, it’s easy to envision an entire world. Perhaps too easy—maps often destroy through their creation. They are a barbaric art, or an art used for politics and propaganda.

This is why maps are instruments of both progress and regress. They inspire and enable discovery, but also conquest and colonization. They tell some histories while denying others. They both reveal and conceal the spaces they circumscribe. The map is not the territory, surely, but then why is our world built on so many getting this so wrong?

Territory wants to understand these paradoxes by understanding the maps that inspire them. We invite writers, musicians, and other artists to respond to maps and the fallacies they engender, in turn creating secondary maps. We then present these two maps side-by-side as a means of getting at, but still failing to capture, the underlying territory. We are building an atlas knowing it will be a reduction, an anachronism, a distortion. But we build it anyway.

There are some issues available already, and calls for contributions to two more are listed (though the first date has passed):

Submissions for our upcoming Treasure and Prisons issues are now open. The deadline for Treasure is March 15, 2017 and the deadline for Prisons is June 1, 2017.

What we publish

We’re looking for works of literature, music, and other art that either/or…

  • are about maps and the paradoxes they engender.
  • are maps of some territory.
  • respond to an existing map in some way (i.e. ekphrasis). We find it helpful to think of the relationship between map and map-response in terms of prepositions. For example, you might…
    • construct a narrative that takes place within the map.
    • translate the map from its current medium to another.
    • map the territories outside the map.
    • write about a specific map, which is to say, explore the circumstances, history, and meaning of this particular object.

We want to expand our sense of what a map can be.

For resources, see the Database and Feeds section of our Other Territories page.

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