Art Map London is a relatively new guide amongst the other organisations currently working within London that survey the gallery networks and feed back into the urban ecology of the city, lubricating the social milieu for artists and audiences alike. What differs Art Map London to say SLAM (South London Art Map), Art Rabbit or New Exhibitions, first and foremost, is that it seeks to support the promotion of the event, or in the terms of Art Map director Jenny Judova, ‘something that lasts no longer than 24 hours’. Accessing the site you are presented with a calendar detailing the day’s events in London. Art Map is to serve and benefit the local, the just visiting, and the transience of event-based visual arts discourse in screenings, talks, performances, one-night only exhibitions and the private-view. A time-consuming and tricky undertaking, given the temporal and spatial sprawl of the city.
Jenny Judova’s experience of moving to London, having recently completed post-graduate studies in Glasgow, tells a familiar personal narrative amongst many other young professionals in the visual arts sector, seeking scarce employment in the relevant industry, over-qualified for the internships or unpaid labour available, endeavouring to establish in-roads to a London art scene, which, seemingly burgeoning, is realistically a complex and sometimes difficult array of networks to enter without a pre-established peer group from having studied in the city. By listing the daily events occurring around the city, regardless of the gallery’s status, Art Map promotes the opportunity of the social encounter.
The emphasis to help facilitate communal gatherings stems from Jenny’s five years in Glasgow, whereby openings would be programmed on the same evening, and the audiences would be regular - a meeting point for many familiar faces. Moving to London is often the default counter-response exactly to this familiarity, with the desire to integrate within a wider artist community, meeting others through openings, talks, study, or studio groups. London might also be seen as a place where the latency of contemporary culture is potentially granted to those who opt in to the capital’s hyper-version of financial struggle and competition, in return to be within a speculative grasp of the now, or the ‘best of best’ as Jan Verwoert recently put it. Though #FOMO is a more recent digi-linguistic manifestation of a social expression, currently circulated through Twitter as a marketing strategy for businesses, the ‘fear of missing out’ certainly felt prescient amongst some of my recent-grad peers a few years ago, and undoubtedly many years before, for whom London was the remedial gateway to the uncertain immediacy of their situation. This undoubtedly is contributing toward what Tony Traver of LSE was recently quoted in The Guardian as saying, declaring London as ‘…the dark star of the economy, inexorably sucking in resources, people and energy. Nobody quite knows how to control it.’