Ati Maier: “The Map Is Not The Territory”

By and on June 29, 2015

We’ve been hearing that Brooklyn-based artist Ati Maier, who wears a white spacesuit and orb-like space helmet, was seen riding her orb-mounted horse through NYC over the past several days — searching for places to plant her space rider flag — and we were reminded of her first Space Rider video, from 2013, shot in the Wyoming desert, as mysteriously ethereal a place as you can find on the planet, and certainly worthy of another look.


According to this piece by Brian Chidester, Maeir spent the last few days lensing her second live-action video, “The Placeless Place,” featuring the Space Rider and horse, riding through the pedestrian plaza at Times Square, beneath the Williamsburg Bridge, and at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in Queens, which Chidester reminds us was home to the 1964-65 World’s Fair (recently seen in the Disney film Tomorrowland), so we’ll have that to look forward to.

In the meantime, have a look at wild Wyoming and the Space Rider exploring interstellar landscapes.

Here’s more:

The Apollo 11 space mission to the moon is today the stuff of legend. For German-born artist Ati Maier, the first Moon Walk serves as both metaphor and unifying theme to her latest exhibition, “The Map Is Not the Territory.” With a series of new abstract paintings, four looped videos, and a floor sculpture, Maier will transform Pierogi and our second exhibition space, The Boiler, into an immersive environment within which to meditate upon the essence of that “giant leap for mankind.”

The Boiler show features Maier’s live action film, The Map Is Not the Territory, from which the show takes its name. Herein the artist plays her alter-ego: A helmeted space-rider mounted on a horse walking languidly across two unknown planets following a series of blinking lights that mimic the outline of the first Moon Walk. (The path is mirrored in the sky as a star constellation.) This strange juxtaposition of scientific and quasi-religious imagery becomes then an emotional vehicle for us to consider our own place in the cosmos.

In coining the phrase, “The map is not the territory,” Polish-American philosopher Alfred Korzybski argued that human knowledge of the world is limited by the structure of language. Or, as Carl Sagan said, “Our understanding of the cosmos begins in the mind.”

The Brooklyn-based Maier here turns communication into a political game when the space-rider plants her own imprinted flag into the ground, staking claim upon the territory. As if to further exemplify the tragic weight of Western history, the space-rider follows a bright comet shooting across the night sky, implying that mankind’s interstellar manifest destiny is not exempt from man’s long-sought spiritual enlightenment.


Watch it at Vimeo.


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.