In the Middle Ages, Paradise was always placed at the top of the maps, next to God, a position that guaranteed that no journey was impossible. It was generally believed at that time that a person who was not well-travelled should not talk about the world.
With the beginning of Modernity, artists stopped believing in Paradise: too long and dark were the sinister shadows being cast by the impending 20th century.
This project is undertaking a great journey with artists from Nigeria, Africa and Europe– not so much to find a hidden entrance to Paradise as to uncover the images that constitute the world of today.
Art will inevitably be competing here with other media which also claim to capture the currently prevailing zeitgeist.
For present-day hotspots are primarily determined by the news. Whether the subject is Boko Haram, the insurgents in the Niger Delta, a terrorist attack in Mali, the financial crisis, a plane crash, the suffering of refugees– it's always the journalists that lay down a certain interpretation of the world for their contemporaries with their choice of news items. The main news bulletins are strikingly similar, whatever latitude a TV channel is located in, leading to a kind of global consensus on what the world looks like and how it should be interpreted.
Disasters are the leitmotif of most reporting, and, as quickly as they emerge, they disappear again as soon as a new, even more dramatic event looms. The most recent example would be the flow of refugees to Europe, which has completely displaced the crisis in Greece even though the latter is far from settled.
This craving for sensation is not only short-sighted, it's also totalitarian because it suggests that there is no alternative to its one-sided depiction of the world.
The Iconic Hotspots project aims to correct this imbalance with esthetic means, if only as a symbolic gesture.
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