Critical Spatial Practice

Making Map I: Animals and Anachronistic Architectures, development in progress (2021–)
  • Sam Zheng | China & the UK

  • Making Map picture
  • Making Map I: Animals and Anachronistic Architectures, development in progress (2021–)
  • Sam Zheng | China & the UK
  • “Back to nature, then! That means we must add to the exclusively social contract a natural contract of symbiosis and reciprocity in which our relationship to things would set aside mastery and possession in favor of admiring attention, reciprocity, contemplation, and respect; where knowledge would no longer imply property, nor action mastery, nor would property and mastery imply their excremental results and origins.” Michel Serres, The Natural Contract, (1995)

    The traditional map summarises an area but it confines the viewer to a rational anthropocentric discipline of mapping. However, Making Maps I attempts to develop a more chaotic codification of space, one that is a variable, silent, moving image map. The aim is to lead the viewer on a journey without a destination, in which they become aware of the animals that inhabit this journey and architectures that are out of place rather than in place, and in so doing to make a methodological derivation through the relevant theories of psychogeography. The Making Maps project emphasises a collective aspect, hoping that more viewers will join in, and use their own practices to build their own perceptions of place and write their own specific maps. 

    The human being is neglected in this map, and his or her absence can be seen as a certain kind of contract with nature, in which the human is absented in exchange for a larger planetary horizon. However, the question remains, do these parasitic architectures in the mountains and forests take up so much space in place of people that they became an anachronism? We may never know how animals perceive and understand these architectures, and we may be just piling up solid waste there. It is essential for us in modernity, that we reflect on a relation between humans and animals, in which humans are not superior to other beings. How we think about this relationship becomes incredibly important to the future of life on earth.

    Clips from Making Maps I


    Sam Zheng is currently active as a writer and researcher in the humanities and arts, based between China and the UK. He received an MRes at Central Saint Martins, the University of the Arts London, and plans to develop a PhD project in the future. 

    As a moving image maker, Sam’s artwork has been exhibited in Los Angeles, London, Nanjing and elsewhere. Since 2018 he has been a co-director of the Black Cat Art Group and has initiated a curatorial project on world experimental documentaries with Deedee Cao. Sam is currently working on curatorial research on the Berlin society and the Kaiserpanorama between 1880 and 1939, in which he tries to challenge the memory medium of the past in this project. 


    Sam Zheng is trying to establish a five-sided interdisciplinary methodological system including philosophy, anthropology, psychoanalysis, art and human geography, that tries to confront the complex discourses of modernity. Sam regards moving image writing as a spatial practice, one that discusses the diverse relationship between place and the moving image in anticipation of developing a post-human prophecy of place.

    Map, Animal, Architecture, Nature Contract, Modernity


    Jacques Derrida, The Animal that therefore I am (Fordham University Press, 2008). 

    Elizabeth Grosz. Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (Columbia University Press, 2008).

    Superstudio, Twelve Cautionary Urban Tales, (1971).

    Other projects
  • Visible vs Invisible, (2022–)
  • Naisten Kaupunki – Työkaluja oman tilan valtaamiseen, (City of Women — Tools for Occupying Space) (2022) 
  • Moonfuture: Migration, Images and the Geological Interior (2022)
  • Dissolving the Dwelling (2021–2)
  • Washing White (2021)
  • Um Slaim Collective (2021)
  • Sonic Acts of Noticing (2021)
  • MGM_OurStarterCulture_5
    Our Starter Culture, (2021)
  • Milan Gender Atlas, (2021)
  • Making Map I: Animals and Anachronistic Architectures, development in progress (2021–)
  • Collateral (2021)
  • The Wandsworth Food Bus, (2020)
  • Progetto Minore. Alla ricerca della minorità nel progetto archiettonico ed urbanistico (2020)
  • 1-DMZ
    Architecture and Co-Existence: DMZ as Site, (2020)
  • Time on Site (2019)
  • Stori Mwd (A Story of Mud), (2019)
  • not nothing (August 2019)
  • Hungry Mothers, En La Frontera (2019 – present)
  • Exchanging Values at Bank (18 October 2019)
  • Cybiog: locating the digital self, (2019/20, 2 mins 45 secs)
  • Civic Pedagogy, learning as critical spatial practice (2019)
  • An Independent and Flexible and Precarious and Overworked Rehearsal, (January – December 2019)
  • An environmental history of La Guajira (2019)
  • A Weird-Tender in progress (2019)
  • Cecilie Sachs Olsen
    A walk in your words (25.01.2019)
  • Portal Zaryadye: A Portal Not Only to Heaven, But Aslo To Hell (24 July – 12 August 2018)
  • Text-isles: sowing an idea, October (2018)
  • Gilly-image-1
    Silent Conversation, (2018 – ongoing)
  • Objects removed for study (2018)
  • Female Futures Lexicon on Space (2018/2019)
  • 5, Big Bang 2 / Mid Graemetruby
    Bank Job, (2018–2020 and beyond)
  • Natalia Irina Roman, Tick Tack, Berlin (2019). Photographer: Natalia Irina Roman
    Along the Lines (2018–)
  • windwoundweatherwovenwirewoman [performance] (2017)
  • Viscous Myths (2017/2018)
  • The Pass (October 2017 – June 2018)
  • The House Alice Built (2017/2019)
  • Productive Withdrawals: Art Strikes, Art Worlds, and Art as a Practice of Freedom (December 2017)
  • Request for the unrequested voluntary interlinguisticality (2017)
  • Caring for Communities (2017 – 2019)
  • Bodies + Borders (2017 – present)
  • a place called … (Spring 2017)
  • Uppland (2016 – 18)
  • Music for Masterplanning (2016 – 17)
  • P | A | N – Proyecto Amasandería Nacional (2016)
  • Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces (2016)
  • Island Icarus (2016–2019)
  • In My Mothers’ Garden: Memories and practices of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (2016)
  • Having not felt like eating, but eaten, I sat down to eat / tea … (2016)
  • Desiring the Dark: Feminist Scenographies, the City and the Night, (2016–2019)
  • Bamboo dialogues (2016)
  • ASSET ARREST (2016)
  • Alternative Arrangements: Walking the Border in Ireland (2016 – ongoing)
  • Matter of the Manor (2015 – 19)
  • The First World Congress of the Missing Things (2014)
  • Private Choices, Public Spaces (2014)
  • Hanging Matters (2014)
  • Act#5 & Act#6: What does Mai Mai Mean? (March 2014 – December 2016)
  • 03-FLATS (2014)
  • (small memorials), 2013–15
  • Mount Patawerta
    Gardening for Untold Ecologies: A Manual for Making an Arid GARDEN Out There, (2013)
  • A Game of Dominoes (2013)
  • Lina & Gio: the last humanists (February – June 2012)
  • Learning-through-Touring (2012)
  • Empty Words Build Empty Homes (2012)
  • Ridley’s (2011)
  • Hustadt project, 2008 – (2011)
  • Palimpsest Performances (2010 – 2014)
  • Negotiating Conflict: Bordering Practices in a Divided Beirut (2010 – 2014)
  • Expanded Architecture (2010 – 2014)
  • Unfixing Place: A Study of Istanbul through Topographical Practices (2008)
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