Mapping Bogotá: Milena Bonilla

One of the most beautiful projects I have ever come across with regard to mapping a city is the project called Transitory Map 2002-2004 by the artist Milena Bonilla. I came across her work in 2008 in a book I picked up on contemporary Columbian art at an exhibition of Oscar Munoz’s work (who’s another fabulous artist! You can see his work here: http://www.iniva.org/exhibitions_projects/2008/mirror_image)

Bonilla takes random bus journeys through Bogotá city and sews up holes she finds on bus seats. She then maps the city along the line of bus travel using the colour of thread that was used to stitch up the hole. You can see the map, her statement and images of the stitched up seats here: http://milenabonilla.info/eng/planotransitorio.html

I think what really interests me is the use of what has been traditionally seen within the ambit of craft, of women’s labour, of the personal here used to draw the map of a city. In a way you end up navigating a city through an activity that is very much singular, a gesture that holds within itself notions of nurturing, of healing, of caring and within a public space.

In the images that document this activity with a before and after the event, the stitching up is never meant to be hidden like in darning but a very visible sewing up holding within that stitch the tear as well.

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