Naming Tokyo (2003– ) and Venezia (all places contain all others) (2009) exemplify Mir’s varied practice, which investigates social networks, globalization, and the contemporary urban experience. In both projects, the artist has appropriated an existing commercially printed form—the street map or the tourist postcard—and reinvented it in a tongue-in-cheek fashion that masks an underlying cultural and political critique.
The streets of Tokyo are not individually named, a characteristic that makes the city unusually challenging for Western tourists to navigate. In Naming Tokyo, the artist asked friends and colleagues to suggest names for the streets. The works on view here (parts one and two of the ongoing project) consist of blank maps of Tokyo with a legend on the reverse listing the names of the participants and the neighborhoods and streets that they designated. These maps, presented originally as a stack from which visitors could take a copy, capture the artist’s vision of a foreign place as constructed through her network of peers, depicting what she has called a “geography of people.”