May 3 – July 27, 2012 at the Vincent Price Art Museum
Mapconception is an on-going collaboration between LA based visual artists Deb Diehl and Arzu Arda Kosar, who share a fascination by the historical cartography of Los Angeles County. We are interested in the ways psychological perceptions influence the practice of mapping and how it continues to shape ideas of ownership and belonging in communities.
When Native Americans first settled in California, they began charting the cognitive maps that they carried in their heads; psychic overlays denoting areas of ownership. When the Spanish, Mexican, and Americans successively claimed California, cartography was a tool used to impose notions of legal ownership, and the boundary lines for the missions and rancheros were recorded onto paper. Our current Los Angeles county maps are the progeny of those imperial charts.
“Harbor Map” depicts the area in and around Rancho San Pedro, the first California Land grant “given” in 1784 by the Spanish government to one of its soldiers. In this, we consider the visual juxtaposition of how boundaries have shifted, split or merged over time and, as a result, have becomes evident that we, too, are part of the ever-changing ideas of space.