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Home / Resources / News / A subjective map of the city: Cluj seen by us through Gendered and Artistic Networks

A subjective map of the city: Cluj seen by us through Gendered and Artistic Networks

The map [?klu? na?poka] has been produced during a workshop held in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) in the context of “Visualizing Transnationalism”, a project strongly connected to Transeuropa Festival 2011.


The point of departure is the project GenderArtNet, an experimental mapping project exploring the interrelation of gender, ethnicity, race, class and sexualities in contemporary Europe.

For a week, a group of people interested in cartography, classification and tagging discussed and worked together in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Some came by plane, other by bus, walking or hitchhiking, living in Cluj, or living abroad.

Different conversations about Cluj-Napoca and Transylvania took place. Using the polysemy of icons and fictional displacements, the discourses about the city and the nation began to open up to surprising shortcuts, temporal diversions, elastic geometries. Consumerism was seen as a vector for spatial extremities -“The mall is at the beginning or at the end of the world?”- or a force of obliteration -“Mental disease hospital and cancer, cemetery are ignored because of Mall one and Mall two”. The omnipresence of religious buildings gathering communities of people seeking to escape the “fear of tomorrow” spiraled through time: through the communist period, through the Middle Age, then through the ground where archeology meets questions of national identity to get back to religion: “are these bones catholic?” Borders were seen as horizons: “Every young person is looking at the airport”. Historical figures resurrected as European programs were seen side by side with the revival of ancestral practices. The city of Erasmus students and the region where a noun is crucified. Time and space compression, the Roissy bus that used to drive tourists to the Eiffel Tower brings Cluj commuters to their next station. The city center as an expelling force, leaving no room for the presence of Romas, city center as a space of cultural translation for the confession taking place at the peripheries. The “triangle of authorship” that connects the city hall, administration and university, where the city is planned and designed. And the bars and the music, and the bars and the exchange of knowledge, and the bars and the flows. And the flows and the encounters in so many languages with those who speak them or refuse to learn them.

A map, then.

On the recto. A background. From Openstreetmap, the wikipedia for maps, street shapes were borrowed and displaced at random. Different tastes of randomness, a difficult selection. A grid. Six regions were identified and labeled inspired by a visit to the Botanical Garden. “Ornamental”, “Geolyrical”, “Taxonomical”, “Afraid of tomorrow”, “Fermentational”, “Miraculous”, “Exobotanical”, “The end of the world”. In the tension between the grid labels and the deconstructed street networks, icons and text fragments are looking for affinities, attract and repulse each other. On the verso. The polysemy of icons looking for an echo in keywords. A periodic table of unstable subjective elements.

For more information, please check the attached picture gallery and

Text by
edited by Diana Prisacariu