Brussels based Dutch designer Annelys de Vet is working on a growing series of “subjective atlases”. These publications are attempts to make meaningful contributions to the discourse around cultural image formation, in a creative, disarming and sensitive yet critical way. The books are ‘mapping’ a country, region or political entity with personal means. Artists, designers and other sensitive souls map their country by their shoe collection, the food they eat, the products they own, the paths they walk, the people they meet, the flowers they pick, the money they earn, the dreams they have or the fears they hide.

The uncommon connections made in the various visual inventories and maps reveal things that usually remain invisible. In the context of the atlas, everyday practices suddenly take on new meanings. The cultural dialogue that arises between the various contributions puts personal experience into a wider context. Which collective values are shared? Which stories do the citizens place at centre stage?

The atlases serve as a humanist response to the increasing simplification of the political debate and the complacency of power. In contrast to the often propagandist tenor of the mass media, the books show, above all, a complex reality that lies beyond one dimensional blinding media images. At best, the pluralistic representations in the atlases can contribute to a more democratic public discourse.

On the occasion of two new issues this autumn - the 'Subjective atlas of Hungary' and the 'Subjective atlas of Mexcio -' a special night is organized in WIELS. The latest atlases will be presented by Annelys de Vet, the Hungarian co-editor Attila Bujdosó and the co-editor of the Mexican atlas Moniek Driesse.

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