HIER ZIJN DRAKEN
is the Dutch translation of the cartographic anachronism “here be dragons”. According to tradition, the phrase, accompanied by small monsters and snakes, adorned the white spaces of medieval (sea) maps. “These,” it tells us, “are uncharted waters.” The historically accurate phrase seems to have been “hic svnt leones“; we choose dragons over lions because they appeal more to the imagination and lend the theme a charge that lions lack.
In addition to the clear warning the sentence contains, we also see in it an expression of potential. The area is not only potentially dangerous, but also wondrous – the emptiness and the dragons are more than a warning, they are an invitation to those who dare. We turn away from our own beach and head for the unknown (quite literally for the cartographer, we extend it to philosophy). The unknown falls into two categories: the unknown territory – be it spatial, mental, spiritual, virtual or something entirely different – and what can be found there. On the one hand, the uncharted waters; on the other, the dragons that dwell there. The goal of DRIFT Collective ’23 is to shine light on the relationship we have to the unknown and the interpretation we give it, and to look at the interplay between place and beast.