Wednesday, October 20, 2010

David Pinder: Straying with maps: guides to dis/orientation

Location, position, orientation... From the School of Geography at the Queen Mary, University of London, geographer, David Pinder highlights the manner in which we tend to use terms like these when navigating and explaining new media. Coco Fusco (2004) argued that viewing new media spaces as a map makes it possible to rule or control it. It "eliminates time, focuses disproportionately on space and dehumanizes life." Pinder points to the military architecture of digital media, and the mapping of cities are both politically and socially produced.

Examples: He points to the new possibilities of annotating the environment and of "drawing lines" in the landscape in the shape of letters that can be read. Choreography of everyday movements.The use of a GPS enables an inscription, and invokes questions of surveillance and control, but also commerce and marketing. The avant-garde of the society of control. A project called "Drift" looks at the pleasure of disorientation, straying and getting lost. Guy Debord and the Situationists: La Societe du Spectacle and their disruptive, alternative maps.

These alternative ways of dealing with maps gives indications to how the rigid and controlling mapping happening within new media can be subverted. Brian Holmes (2003/2008): "The aesthetic form of the dérive is everywhere. But so is the hyper-rationalist grid of Imperial infrastructure. And the questions of social subversion and psychic deconditioning are wide open, unanswered, seemingly lost to our minds, in an era when civil society has been integrated to the military architecture of digital media."

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