Craig Epplin

Books and maps

Geographically, my work centers on Mexico and Argentina, and thematically I'm interested in the cultural repercussions of media technologies, ecologies urban and otherwise, and cartography as an aesthetic form. Intensities and movements matter more to me than subjectivity and memory. Like most people in my field, I got my start with literature and moved outward from there. My work fits under the big umbrella of cultural studies, in the sense that I'm interested in how aesthetic culture relates to everything around it. All the miscellanea of life—which is to say, the places where we spend most of our time—is all aesthetic anyway.

My first book, titled Late Book Culture in Argentina, came out in 2014, published by Bloomsbury. It's a study of contemporary experimental literature in Argentina, as it relates to transformations in the media landscape. My central concern was to examine different ways of engaging with the technology of the book. I began with a brief history of modern book culture in Argentina, outlined a genealogy of book experimentation—in the work of Osvaldo Lamborghini, César Aira, and Eloísa Cartonera—and analyzed various incarnations of the book—in the work of Estación Pringles, Sergio Chejfec, and Pablo Katchadjian.

My next big project is a second book, which I've tentatively titled "Maps of Mexico: Cartography and Aesthetics in an Age of War." Its starting point is a series of aesthetic projects that chart flows of bodies and capital through indexical means—photography and sound recording, among others. Given that they all trace itineraries, I'm thinking about these works within our present cartographic context. As such, I'm currently most focused on contemporary Mexican aesthetic culture (some key points of reference: Mario Bellatin, Cristina Rivera Garza, Luis Felipe Ortega, Tania Candiani, Juan Villoro, Valeria Luiselli, Francisco Goldman, Teresa Margolles, Francis Alÿs, Carlos Reygadas, and Gabriel Orozco), the history of Mexican cartography, and contemporary GIS technologies.