Fire Drill maps out new pieces in a new space


Let’s say you create a map of your bedroom. You draw the floor plan of where the bed is and where the end table stands, and the light and the closet and a chair. But even if you are drawing to scale, the map of your room isn’t actually your room, right? That’s the premise of scholar Alfred Korzybski’s concept, referred to as "the map is not the territory,” which he coined at a conference in 1931.

But what if Korzybski had it all wrong? In "The Map is the Territory," curating duo Fire Drill (Emily Gastineau and Billy Mullaney), have put together a group of artists making work that investigates the idea of documentation, positing that sometimes the map is just as true or real as the thing that it’s drawn from.

Billy Mullaney and his fellow curator Emily Gastineau were interested in challenging the axiom, which suggests that “when you are representing something it is not the thing that is being represented,” he says. “We are interested in negating that. When we are representing something, it is creating it’s own territory and it’s own history.”

The theme of the show is especially brought out by a piece by Tim Smith-Stewart, a Seattle-based artist who recently presented a 20-minute work at the Northwest New Works festival. “We started with the Tim Smith-Stewart piece because we knew we would love to have him come and use it as a way to build the work,” Mullaney says. 

Exploring themes of gentrification and dystopia, Smith-Stewart's piece works with text and the documentation of history, both "how it’s written and the thing it lives in,” Mullaney says.

Bringing in the West Coast artists also falls in line with one of the goals of Fire Drill, which is to make connections with artists in other cities.


Another piece by Lisa Channer uses quotes from the artist’s late father, while Moheb Soliman, who won’t be physically at the show but will be seen on video, will present from his work incorporating maps from his recent project on the Great Lakes.

Choreographer Magnolia Yang Sao Yia will perform a collaborative piece she made with a group of Hmong women, Ali O’Reilly is presenting an audio piece about fabricated vulnerability, and Paige Collette's work is about sex, drugs, and dying.


The Map is the Territory

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Fresh Oysters Performance Research

512 E. 24th St., Minneapolis

$10-15 suggested donation. Cash only.