Remapping the Neighborhood

MF Problem (Autumn Knight and Robert Pruitt), Mobile Block Party flyer (2011).

Abstract: In Houston’s Third Ward residents join with artists and architects to revitalize a historic African-American neighborhood. What do their maps tell us?

Keywords: art as remapping, database mapping, urban redevelopment, architecture.

Biography: Karen O’Rourke is an artist and writer, emeritus professor at the University of Saint-Etienne. She is the author of Walking and Mapping: Artists as Cartographers (MIT Press, 2013) and a co-founder of La Fin des cartes?

O’Rourke, Karen, “Remapping the neighborhood” published on July, 10th, 2020, antiAtlas #4 | 2020, online, URL :

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Drifting to Third Ward


If you want to walk, try walking on your “Main Street”. Walk toward an art gallery. Go into every room and look around. If you don’t find an art gallery, make one. Continue to move in and out of air-conditioned places. For those of you in the southern hemisphere, central heating will work too. If there’s a freeway anywhere around, make sure you cross it. If there is no freeway, look for railroad tracks.

A 20-minute sound walk

Part of Drifting Bodies / Fluent Spaces – Lab2PT & Made of Walking (VII) – Guimaraes (Portugal)

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Arts et pratiques de l’archivage numérique : collecter cataloguer cartographier

Sortie de l’ouvrage collectif /// Arts et pratiques de l’archivage numérique : collecter cataloguer cartographier sous la direction de Vincent Ciciliato. Aux éditions Presses Universitaires de Saint-Étienne, 2020. Avec les contributions de : Samuel Bianchini/ Anne-Céline Callens / Vincent Ciciliato / Philippe Colantoni / Dominique Cunin / Anne-Marie Duguet / Anne Favier / Jean-Paul Fourmentraux /Thierry Joliveau / Joanne Lalonde / Clémence Lonjon / Claire Marcadé / Oussama Mubarak / Karen O’Rourke / Mikael O’Sullivan / Laurent Pottier / Marc Veyrat / Anne Zeitz / Fabien Zocco

Vincent Ciciliato: “La mémoire numérique se caractérise par un double travail de fixation et d’impermanence. C’est cette cinétique, autour de laquelle se met en place tout dispositif d’enregistrement et de consultation numérique, qui lie les trois actes abordés dans cet ouvrage : collecter, cataloguer, cartographier. Les champs de la création artistique et de la valorisation d’archives constituent les domaines d’étude des textes rassemblés ici. L’ouvrage est structuré autour de quatre chapitres. Le premier, traite de la mémoire numérisée confrontée au principe de surveillance, ainsi qu’au risque de la perte imminente. Le second, s’interroge sur les moyens de sauvegarde des oeuvres dites « immatérielles » en proposant des stratégies d’accès propres à ces « médias variables ». Le troisième, étudie des propositions de valorisation par des outils numériques de fonds d’archives analogiques. La dernière partie, aborde plus spécifiquement des modalités de visualisation et de consultation graphiques d’archives numériques.”

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Border-Crossing with Marie Preston from Paris to Saint-Ouen

On its way north toward the Normandy coast, the Seine river loops back and forth lazily after leaving Paris. Saint-Ouen sits between the first loop and the orbital road that separates Paris and its immediate suburbs. In the seventeenth century, it was the site of market gardens where cabbages, onions, carrots, beets and leeks were grown to be sold at the Paris Halles, and a holiday resort for nobles and aristocrats. Renamed Bains-sur-Seine during the Revolution, it was an ideal place for a picnic.

In the early afternoon of December 12, 2009, I joined a group of pedestrians at the corner of the rue Francis Garnier (“explorer and naval officer”) and the Boulevard Bessières[1] to walk with artist Marie Preston from Paris to Saint-Ouen following the old railway line. The route had been drawn beforehand on a map: “Walking close to the railway line of the docks, we’ll leave Paris as we imagine walking through the tunnel under the fortifications. Then little by little we leave the transparent world of bureaucratic architecture to make our way through a silent, industrial desert until the river rises ahead.”[2]

Read more: PDF

Article written on invitation for the Swiss architecture and design journal Pamphlet to be published by the Chair of Professor Christophe Girot at the Institute of Landscape Architecture, ETH Zurich in 2019.

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What Have We Done to The Author as Producer?

Study Day on May 31 at Aix-Marseille University organized by Anna Guilló and Clément Bodet with short presentations by Clément Bodet, Aline Caillet, Arno Gisinger, Anna Guilló, Pierre-Damien Huyghe, Karen O’Rourke, Florent Perrier and Eric Watier.  Abstracts (in French).Programme_ext_auteur_producteur_BD_final

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Contaminations numériques

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Journée d’étude Mémoire des gestes et objets de savoirs

Le 28 septembre 2017

De 9h00 à 17h30

Atrium – Niveau 1 – BU Tréfilerie

Le projet Geste technique, geste mnémotechnologique consiste en une réflexion pluridisciplinaire sur les articulations entre gestes techniques et processus de transformation de nos sociétés contemporaines. Après une première journée d’étude au Musée de la Mine en 2016, qui explorait les modalités de transmission, de détournement et de réactualisation des gestes techniques, la journée d’étude du 28 septembre 2017 propose d’étendre la réflexion aux interactions entre gestes et objets de savoirs. Nous nous intéresserons aussi bien aux gestes producteurs de savoirs et de connaissances qu’aux gestes nécessaires à la constitution des objets de savoirs matériels et immatériels. Elle aura lieu à la Bibliothèque Tréfilerie de Saint-Etienne.

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Lines Made by Walking: Producing Spaces


My keynote speech is scheduled for May 19th at 6 pm. 7th Inter-format Symposium Along Lines, at Nida Art Colony, Lithuania.

Abstract: Space doesn’t just exist; it has been produced from a primary matter, nature, argues Henri Lefebvre. It is the result of activity – political products and strategic spaces – that implies economics and technique but goes beyond them. There is not one social space but many.

As GPS technology came of age in the mid 1990s, artists turned to walking as a symbolic form, a way to pursue architectural concerns or to explore spatial perception. By the early twenty-first century, the convergence of global networks, online databases and new tools for location-based mapping coincided with the renewal of interest in walking as an art form. Imagining the city (and the world) as a set of crisscrossing paths, practitioners of locative media embedded stories and sounds in the landscape. Instead of “colonizing space” as mapmakers are wont to do, by eliminating the traces of the practices that produced their maps, they developed techniques of spatial annotation to retrieve lost layers of meaning.

“Remaking the world” is often done in smoke-filled cafes. A more effective tactic might be called “applied pedestrianism”: the use of walking, the lines it makes and the experiences it offers, to produce new spaces. Continue reading

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Along Lines: Inter-format Symposium 2017

I have been invited to speak at the 7th Inter-format Symposium Along Lines, by Nida Art Colony on May 19- 22 2017. The symposium “will reflect on the line as a very basic visual element and medium of knowledge. In the geopolitical context, the shoreline and borders of the Curonian spit, a group of artists, philosophers, scientists, archaeologists, dancers and musicians is invited to reflect on the contemporary means/gesture of the line facing fluctuating information, ecological changes and new territories. Using the line as a symbolic/metaphoric as well as analytical instrument the symposium presents different strategies to sketch and connect the world through methods of mapping, walking, drawing, recording, performing, swimming, writing, reading or singing.” Continue reading

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Talk at Anhembi-Morumbi University


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