As an artist-cartographer, my practice-based research aims to deconstruct the notion of territorial borders by drawing ‘new maps’. Through studying Critical Cartography, I consider the border as a form of social activity, political action and cultural production, which helps me to envisage the making of ‘new maps’. Map-drawings examine how particular social, political and cultural movements can be referenced in order to analyse and understand the existing borders on a map, and how such movements have implications for cartographic practice. It is to re-examine the role of drawing in maps as an analytical/creative language in order to test out and develop mapmaking.
In this exhibition, I would like to show my PhD research outcome, ‘Map Different Me’ series.
Considering drawing especially in terms of mapping, which is explored here through engagement with the Joseonjok people in New Malden, London, currently, I am running a map-drawing project on Joseonjok, which I named the project ‘Map Different Me’. Joseonjok are ethnic group who can be seen as border-crosser, are originally Korean but politically Chinese; an ethnic group mostly living in the northeastern provinces of China. Northeast China and North Korea are therefore shared by the same diaspora ethnicity, regardless of political border. Due to short working spaces in their homeland, many of them leave their families behind and choose to live abroad working for Koreans. It is mainly because they can only speak Korean language. Those who reside in London are normally based in Wimbledon and New Malden, where many Koreans live in London. Seen as a collaborative and site-specific work with Joseonjok immigrants, the inclusion of of Joseonjok in London reflects the need for a map that asks not just where they are but where do they fit in the London landscape. It is a life-map that shows their journeys that the ‘ordinary’ map cannot integrate. Consequently, my drawings reflect upon site-specific and ethnographic research amongst Joseonjok and their surroundings such as socio-economical, political and physical status in Greater London.
Within this context, the project assumes that drawing is always process-led, and that this allows for ways of seeing and understanding that can be incorporated into the practice of critical cartography. It thus aims to explore the relationship between drawing as a process-led practice and critical cartography and, by so doing, investigates how critical cartography makes use of drawing to collect, represent and reinterpret findings. Locating this research within an interdisciplinary framework, these ideas are designed to reflect upon the potential of drawing in bringing together the disciplines of critical cartography and creative drawing practice in this research, thereby re-imagining drawing as a discipline that can contribute new knowledge by embodying the theoretical and methodological approaches of both disciplines.