Workshop: How to Counter-map Autonomy and Self-organization -Iconoclasistas & WdKA Autonomy – Lab 16-11-23

  • Arvand Pourabbasi
  • Florian Cramer
  • Natalia Sorzano
  • Santiago Pinyol
  • Weronika Zielińska-Klein
  • Affiliated research project
  • Autonomy Lab

  • On the 16th of November, Research Center WdKA’s Autonomy Lab and Roodkapje carry out a ‘counter-mapping’ workshop, under the guidance of the Argentinian researcher/designer/activist duo, Iconoclasistas. Iconoclasistas have a long practice of doing critical, community-based mappings and counter-mappings.

    Iconoclasistas are participating via teleconferencing. Participation is free and open to anyone.

    Using an older mapping of artist-run spaces in Rotterdam as our starting point, we will be guided by the Argentinean collective Iconoclasistas to relearn and rethink how to make mappings – and specifically, how to map communities in ways that serve these communities and rethink more broadly what mapping is. What are the maps we miss? What are counter-hegemonic ways of mapping? If you’re interested in these questions, you’re welcome to join us.


    Iconoclasistas is a duo formed by Julia Risler (PhD in Social Sciences) and Pablo Ares (self-taught graphic artist) in May 2006. Based in Argentinia, Iconoclasistas began as a social communication laboratory, where the pair produce graphics (posters, publications, cartographies, etc.) and urban interventions. Current activity unfolds in three dimensions of knowledge and practices: artistic (poetics of production and graphic devices), political (territorial activism and institutional drifts) and academic (critical pedagogies and participatory research). This activity is part of a dynamic network of affinity and solidarity, dispersed in different parts of the world map; assiduous participation in talks, meetings and exhibitions in museums, festivals, symposiums, biennials and congresses: both nationally and internationally.

    Since 2008 they have been continuously developing collective mapping workshops in different parts of the world, stimulating a critical perception of various territories and enhancing the processes of subjectivation and production of collective meanings. Methodology arises from the inventiveness and experience acquired from the practice and experimentation in the workshops. Over the years Iconoclasistas has broadened and deepened from the diversity of spaces and participants: via neighbourhoods, museums, academia, activist networks. Other influences nourished them: situationist psychogeography, critical geographies, Freire’s popular pedagogies, Fals Borda’s participatory action research, critical and feminist epistemologies, the tradition of assembly and networking practices of social movements, and free culture to disseminate and share knowledge, experiences and resources.

    WdKA Autonomy Lab

    WdKA Autonomy Lab is a research project at Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam that investigates new, ways of understanding and creating autonomy in and beyond the arts, with a focus on self-organized, collective and multidisciplinary practices. In 2018, it created a topical map of artist-run spaces and initiatives in Rotterdam, primarily as orientation for students and teachers. This map has, in the meantime, become historical, and both its mapping approach and criteria of inclusion need to be rethought.