YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR DESTINATION - BY GISELLE BEIGUELMAN
“There is a road, but no destination”, Mia Couto wrote in Sleepwalking Land. But in the land where Google Maps inhabitants live in, this equation isn’t applicable. Arriving sooner is more important. We need to shorten our routes, save time, fulfill efficiency rituals. There is no more room for drifting. Waze must provide all itineraries, regardless of us knowing or not the upcoming route. The huge amount of information about our travels, our schedules and our habits, recorded in these companies’ databases, doesn’t weigh on anyone’s conscience. It’s enough to ignore this and arrive at our destination – quickly; and, if possible, not seeing or thinking about anything.
Remotely guided crowds of drivers follow programmed itineraries. Any system failure can lead to a colossal traffic jam breakdown. But the fact is that we don’t doubt the GPS. Metallic monotone voices turn the journey through urban landscape void from any emotion. Turn right; drive northwest for 400 meters; smooth curve on the left. All the cities feel like one of the same… As if we inhabited the delusion of a character from Jorge Luis Borges’ “On Exactitude in Science”. In this short story, the author presents an Empire that was so dedicated to the art of cartography that it created a map of its own size. They coincided, point by point, in a scale of 1:1. It was, however, useless. In abolishing representation, it also destroyed imagination.
It is about this desire for a map of imaginary paths that Felipe Cama talks about in the exhibition Você chegou ao seu destino (You have reached your destination). The title, taken from the final message played in cellphone map services, is an ironic counterpoint to the series of paintings he presents here. A set of nine maps that record his routes are diaries from which all the data was erased. Only a few pieces of visual information remain: shapes, described by the itineraries’ outlines, and the colors he adds, according to personal criteria. The results are maps of nowhere, a “Google Unmapped” – as if we treaded from trail to trace, from sulcus to seam, from figuration to abstraction. It is no accident that each of the maps is named after its production date. Time here upstages trajectory. Extracts from a series – initiated in 2011 – are almost-frames of a day-to- day in slow motion, opposing the logic of a world of permanent acceleration. Elements that escape Big Data, the large pattern masses, are specialized in these maps.
On Felipe Cama’s maps, what counts are the imperceptible aberrations and the detours that destabilize the universe of programmed routes. The original figurative organization of lines is broken, allowing for new symbolic constellations. He subverts the map as a positioning instrument and as an agent for ‘mining’ behavior, cutting off the data collection of where we go, and when. Without tracing a pre-existing world, the map gains thickness and volume. It leaves the canvas and reaches into life – with all its indefinable and unstable variables.
Text for the exhibition You Have Reached Your Destination, Galeria Zipper, São Paulo, November 2017.