Toponyms for a
Distracted State

Installation/Editorial, 2018

39 satellite images and 39 real names of places that outline important truths. Installation for Artecámara, Artbo, Bogotá, Colombia, 2018. Curated by Carolina Ponce de León.

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This is a sound image that is inscribed in memory.

    A journey through the most desolated areas of Colombian territory in Google Maps; 39 names of places were collected from 39 images of geography. The images, enlarged and processed became 39 prints. Each “poster” has an ink stamp on the bottom that completes a sentence started by the name of the place.

The names of the territory usually correspond to the encounter of natural elements that compose it with human and cultural presence that inhabits it. This meeting can be called an act of identity, an act of orientation or a landscape.

To name something (or some place) is to tear it away from onomastic chaos in order to make it participate of a symbolic order, of a system of myths and rites, of a mythology. To name something is to unite it forever to the meaning that bears its name.

It is proposed to decipher these relations between the natural and the cultural: the territory and its denomination. The place-name crystallizes the variety and richness of the interactions between human beings and their geography: rather than describing it, it evokes. The landscape seen from the sky, however, describes territory. It fixes the insistent human habitation in a turbulent and unstable territory.

The different satellite photographs make sense as a whole by capturing a psychological, geographical and social complexity that goes beyond the romantic mold of state fiction.

The 39 names, innocuous, seem to fail to belong to any symbolic system. It seems that they were simply spilled on the territory.

The thick nature that shapes this territory entails an irrepressible force which today is still associated with violence.