NO TERRITORY – exhibition of Petar Chinovsky

12.10 – 01.11.2022

Curator: Radoslav Mehandzhiyski

Opening: 12.10.2022 (Wednesday) – 17:30 – 21:00

Little Bird Place Gallery

Petar Chinovsky’s project “No Territory” is a metaphor for a series of phenomena directly related to our desire and need to communicate reality – to experience it and navigate in it. What these phenomena have in common is the attempt to ‘translate’ or ‘map’ events, sensations and objects. An experience that skillfully seduces us with its seemingly light and well organized schematicity, but, at the same time, somehow illusory and deft, it creates an insurmountable distance in our ability to fully grasp the essence of the constantly ongoing life.

Whether we’re sharing an experience with a friend or we are peering into our memories to remind ourselves of who we are, or we’re simply navigating our route on a map, our communication with reality is defined by the conveniences and limitations of the “information transfer” method. Language constantly falls short of truly expressing our understandings and feelings about an event or situation – but when we share with friends, the social contract requires the assumption that we fully understand each other. Our memory has the noble property of forgetting, in a sense it “maps” our past – so “who we are” is simply a compilation of a few memories and our attitude towards them. Likewise, a geographical map schematically summarizes the real landscape to help us navigate – as do language, our memory, and many other elements of our being and social life.

With his exhibition, Petar Chinovsky directs our attention precisely to the distance between the absolute reality and our methods of communicating this reality. It does so with a surprising variety of means of expression, without any hint of tedious social criticism or contrived moralizing tone. On the contrary, the author interprets the theme openly, with careful judgment about the place and meaning of each element in the artistic syntax of the project. With the clear awareness that the perimeter of the issues addressed is “no man’s territory”, and any such territory is a perfect space for the meaningful exchange of ideas and perceptions.

Radoslav Mehandzhiyski


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* The project was implemented with the financial support of the National Fund “Culture” under the program “Creative Scholarships”

The complementarity principle in microbiology is a mechanism of interaction between molecules by correspondence of spatial structure. Pixel images and computer operations generally correspond to a series of transistors in either an onor off state. Magnetic resonance imaging produces a visualization of local changes in brain activity. The concept of mapping in mathematics refers to the assigning of an object from one set to an object in another set. The translation from one language to another boils down to a system of rules for the correspondence between two sets of linguistic units.

Mapping is the creation of representations for navigation and pragmatic examination of the environment. In the process of translating it to the language of the map, the territory would be reduced to its constituent elements, redundant information filtered out, until a useful simulation is reached.

In a 1933 paper Alfred Korzybski wrote that “the map is not the territory“, referring to the representation-reality relationship. In this context maps tell us what to do, not what is. Representations resemble historical anecdotes, which turned out to be fictitious, but still illustrate something real.

In an alternative version in the conditional mood, maps would list evidence for territory, but a territory would never be reached, we would only have maps of maps, a map would refer to the next level of a more detailed and dense version of a map. Perception would remain mediated and processed, never direct. The most comprehensive description of a life would be incomplete. Yet precisely because it would be an illusion that we ever reach a territory, it would also be an illusion that the map is separate from the territory. Fiction would be lived as fact. Maps would be experienced as territories.

Language would map experience much like visual representations, and would be subject to the same pitfalls. To some extent we would be aware of the incompleteness in coding raw experience in language symbols; misleading would be when we accept that we are able to decode from language symbols complete reality. We would come to think that what was said was all that existed and would overlook that which cannot be said. Cozy grammatical coherence would relax our vigilance. In a sense every statement would be wrong, including and most of all the convincing, the exhaustive, the empirical and the irrefutable. This would expand to an illusion of comprehension – that, which we understood, is all there is, and all there is is comprehensible.

Atex thar dt orea dtell smore.

Peter Chinovsky

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