Historically, maps have served as a panoptic technology, assisting imperial powers in governance, discipline, and control. Their visualizations have reinforced the dominance of colonialist rulers while marginalizing entire regions and peoples. In his art practice, Cian Dayrit acts as a counter-cartographer, reclaiming mapmaking as an emancipatory activity.
Dayrit’s cartographic artworks, embroidered on textiles or painted over collages of colonial-era maps, plot the extraction of natural resources, land grabbing, and dispossession. At the same time, their resistant lines summon new imaginaries out of the overlaps between places and memories. They remind viewers how empire scored out the borders of the modern world and how its aftermath perpetuates industrial development, while inviting us to reconsider the ways in which we spatially perceive and interpret the world.
Dayrit’s practice is critically and practically informed by the narratives of peoples who encounter issues of “spacio-cide”, a term coined by Syrian-Palestinian author Sari Hanafi to describe the destruction or erasure of displaced peoples’ lived spaces. The artist has convened map-drawing workshops with rural, urban, and indigenous communities in his native Philippines, examples of which are included in the exhibition. “Beyond the God’s Eye” activates alternative territories from the ground-up.