Mapping the intangible

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Rogue Troopers: Designing functional and fictional disruptions

Presentation Title:

  • Mapping the intangible

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Abstract:

  • Panel: Rogue Troopers: Designing functional and fictional disruptions

    Writing in the 1990s, the critic Fredric Jameson argued that the postmodern condition, with its vast global networks in which we are “caught as individual subjects,” calls for “an aesthetic of cognitive mapping”. Over the subsequent two decades, Jameson’s hypothesis was effectively tested in the wave of cultural activity around mapping, partly enabled by the accessibility of two formerly military technologies: satellite navigation and the internet. Mapping and information visualisation were relinquished from the tight grip of professionals into the spheres of amateur, open source and experimental practice. More recently, the geographer Jeremy Crampton has analysed contemporary mapping practices, arguing that it is a “field of knowledge and power relations” being pulled in several different directions.  Crampton describes a pull toward ‘securitization’ on one side, countered by ‘resistances’ on the other. ‘Securitization’ emerges from post-war efforts to rid cartography and GIS of any association with art and propaganda and render it ‘post-political’— a position that the resistance side generally finds untenable. The resistance side is characterised by critical cartography, map art and the open source movement; millions of amateurs and novices using hitherto inaccessible mapping technologies to construct a vast ‘geoweb’. In co-opting former military technologies, the recent wave of locative media practitioners exemplifies an emergence of disruptive, resistant practices. With smart phones, space is annotated and re-stitched together and new networks are galvanised. Drawing from a range of writers and theorists, this presentation explores the functional and fictional possibilities of this activity.

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