ARCA along with 221A and The Architecture Lobby Tkaronto, have formed a Research Partnership to produce 15 regional engagement workshops which will inform the development of a new digital platform, countermap.land. Each of the workshops will be designed as counter-mapathons, and will be supported with a $5000 micro-grant disbursed by ARCA.
These events will develop the first data layer of countermap.land. And, the feedback and learnings gained from these events will help to inform the functionality, submission vetting process, and the interface of the website. Artist Run Centres (ARCs), artistic groups and collectives are asked to submit a brief Expression of Interest to detail their intentions, ambitions and credentials to host a workshop in their region. Any self-organized group of artists and cultural workers may apply to this program.
This collectively drafted countermap of the land we call “Canada,” will be developed continually and pluralistically to mark the spatial manifestations of centuries of white supremacist doctrines within officially-constituted narratives of nation-building and map-making. countermap.land allows users to locate and upload images and writing about racist and colonial sites of trauma (monuments, objects, buildings, structures), areas (parks, streets, neighbourhoods, infrastructure, waterways, geographic zones), and events (memories, time-based processes). Users can equally submit proposals for counter-monuments and safer spaces, as to advance narratives of repair and care.
This project recognizes that maps and the associated technologies of cartography are inseparable from the colonial project; they describe and segment space, defining boundaries to movement, the exploitable resources of landscapes, and the reaches of imperial power. We hope through this work to appropriate and build on top of these tools to define new collective histories. This project will always be a work in progress. We hope through countermap.land, we not only challenge the data which is included and excluded in maps of so-called “Canada”, but to also reexamine and retool the technology of the map itself.
countermap.land explores new methods for repatriation and pursues creative and collectively developed strategies for addressing real harm caused to BIPOC and Queer communities that cut across race, class, and gender identities. This platform will be an essential tool for architects, designers, planners and communities to create counter-power to hold colonial structures accountable, and it recasts space counter to established settler presumptions.