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MAP Office Archive

Latest works of MAP Office (Hong Kong)  with Laurent Gutierrez

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MAP Office, Ghost Island, Thailand Biennale, Krabi, 2018

Ghost Island  is a large installation comprising numerous fishing activities, invisible stories and multiple cultures.
Shaped in the form of an island made of a complex assemblage of bamboos, it is formed by the accumulation and stratification of numerous distinct layers of disused fishing nets. In this way the main material used for the construction
of the new island will be 
free and help cleaning up the sea.


MAP Office, The Making of Ghost Island, Thailand Biennale, Krabi, 2018

Ghost Island  is made of a complex assemblage of bamboos, cut, laminated and assembled by a team of Thai, Malay and Burmese killed workers. It was completed with the accumulation and stratification of numerous distinct layers of lost fishing nets, about two tones rescued from the coral reef in the archipelago.


MAP Office, The Archaeology of Diving, Milan Triennale, Milan, 2018

The Archaeology of Diving was recorded around Toba City, in the Bay of Ise in central Japan, in August 2018. The film portrays the timeline of the unique way of life and the free-diving practice of a small group of divers from multiple generations. It begins as they come together in the amagoya, a simple hut located on the seashore, where they warm up, repair and store their diving gear, and share food and stories.
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MAP Office, The Politics of Diving, Milan Triennale, Milan, 2018

During a series of trips to JeJu Island (Korea) and Shima (Mie Prefecture, Japan), we have encountered incredible figures, ama- san and haenyeo, with unique stories meeting multiple issues of MAP Office research on seaweed, subsistence economy, coastal ecology, matriarchal society, anarchy, nomadic life. In Goza, Yamashita-san gathered her tools to compose “A glossary of her world”. She presented different types of diving gogles, explaining the differences and reasons why she has been using the same mask for last 30 years. 


MAP Office, The Story of Amanami, Milan Triennale, Milan, 2018

Composed across artefacts, performance, photography, drawing and interview, The Story of Amanami  is a contemporary expression of the ama divers’ history, culture and tradition around the Bay of Ise, in Japan. Amas have been a typical subject for artists and capturing their exotic beauty as sea creatures and their unique culture uncontaminated by the different processes of modernity. The main component of the project is a drawing installation that reimagines the ukiyo-e – not as technique – but as an accurate ethnographic representation of the coastal landscape during the edo period. This complete cycle between the body of the performer and the territory defines a stable ecology and economy of the coastline.
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MAP Office, The Book of Waves, PF25, Basel, 2018

Inspired by Kyoto artist Mori Yuzan, The Book of Waves propose an animated selection of waves and ripples from ancient representations of sea movement. The hand-drawn animation fills the gap between drawings to propose new relations and flows between the various ocean conditions. Water currents and turbulence at sea exemplify today the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and increasingly more violent typhoons.



MAP Office, Island Resort, Yokohama Triennale, 2017

Island Resort consists of over 200 islands, conducts extensive research and fieldwork on islands, territories and territorial waters, and applies it to interdisciplinary artistic endeavors. Here, they present an installation in the Grand Gallery of the Yokohama Museum of Art in which works are arranged like islands in an archipelago. In their new work representing the image of the island country Japan as a soundscape, the ambiguities inherent in the island paradigm can be heard in fragments taken from Japanese literature and movies assembled according to the concepts “time,” “war,” “love,” “fantasy,” and “elsewhere.” In addition, they present 11 works from seven series for the first time ever in Japan, including The Coral Island, addressing the severity of humans’ destruction of the natural environment; Liquid Land, Solid Sea, which has removed all names of nations and any kinds of proper nouns from the map of the South China Sea where a lot of territorial and right disputes are occuring ; and Island For The Colorblind, inspired by the Ishihara color vision test, in which they arranged green and pink sea urchin shells on a circular table to create numerals, exploring the possibility or impossibility of communication and the uncertainty of boundaries and territory.




MAP Office, Island For The Colorblind, 2014
Pink and green sea urchin shells (about 3000 pieces - origin Greece, Crete)

Island For The Colorblind is a territory that cannot be seen by everyone. Inspired by the Ishihara color test, the figure 69 is embedded in the landscape as a number of pink and green urchin shells. The deliberate choice to portray the number 69 has multiple reasons, ranging from the optical agility this number incorporates, to the symbiosis of two entwined figures. The island is exclusive and possibly invisible to some.

Japanese Archipelago

MAP Office, Japanese Archipelago, Yokohama Triennale, 2017

Our approach of the Japanese Archipelago is through literature and cinema. The role played by islands in Japanese culture goes beyond the simple idea of being isolated. Obviously the islands have served as places of love, fantasy, survival, detention, mythologies, war, etc.
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Desert Island

MAP Office, Desert Island, Singapore Biennale, 2016

In the Anthropocene, the history of the 21st century will be written on water. With sea level on the rise, the ocean has become both the new frontier and the last space, to be either uncovered for the benefit of humankind or condemned as the locus of its final demise. They have long played a major role in nourishing the imagination and establishing new points of reference in defining the world. The map of Desert Island presents the ocean as an imaginary world of islands, each informed by literary tales, narratives, and statistics.
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South China Sea Monument

MAP Office, South China Sea Monument, Eflux, 2020  > LINK
A project initiated with maritime lawyer Agnes Chong and geologist Eric Laflamme. 


“South China Sea Monument” is a research on current discussion in the South China Sea. What seems to be solely referring to international law and ancient treaties signed by a few nations is in reality a complex territory made of islands and shoals that are barely emerging above the sea. At this point, geography is in the hand of signed papers that are defining the current ecology and economy of the region, as well as shaping future geo-political activities of the neighbouring countries and beyond. We are setting up - using the law with maps, drawings and texts, the idea that the High Seas as a “natural special maritime zone” in the South China Sea could be carved for the common heritage of mankind that is free of any single sovereign control. The environmental protection is crucial for the conservation and sustainability of marine biological diversity of the High Seas.

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