«A map is a coded and compacted version of reality, created by simplifying many layers of information. This reduction requires making multiples choices in the context of a territory shown, about what to include and what to leave out. Each one of these choices is as political as it is subjective. As such, a map is necessarily an incomplete and biased representation of reality: the Subjective Atlas of Colombia is no exception.

We believe that the only way to capture a picture of contemporary Colombian society is from the inside. The people of Colombia are its best possible cartographers. It’s the citizens who have the personal understanding and experiences of a place. Their personal points of view reveal insights into what it means to live in Colombia today and what global developments mean on a local level. That is where ‘geo-poetry’ starts to be written, and that is how this atlas came into being.

We asked more than sixty artists, designers and other keen observers in Colombia to bring their country into perspective. We worked with diverse groups of individuals during workshops in both Bogotá and Puerto Colombia. Together we researched current notions around Colombia’s identity drawn from personal memories, impulses and dreams. We discussed what kind of visual symbols should be adopted and found a common ground that helped us to identify key local discussions around the concepts of self-exoticisation and post-colonialism. During the workshops we explored how the participants connected emotionally with their domestic environment and with public space, and how their perceptions of Colombia’s vernacular heritage were reshaped by forces of globalisation.