Week 6 Questions

by alexcarson

1: I would like to begin by saying that I see the Panopticon as being potentially an analogy for the web of digital information which ensnares virtually every action we take, particularly through its demonstrated power of observation. While the following is not the point of Foucault’s work, I do wonder if one could account for resistance to that system, though. Just as internet users have devised means to resist the system via means that the system itself can not yet control, would it be possible for individuals in the Panopticon to undermine the intentions of the overseer through civil disobedience. Foucault’s answer to that is likely dismal (in the long-term, no), but I think Foucault’s use of the Panopticon automatically raises the question of if one can get out or if order can be disrupted on a permanent and meaningful basis.

2: The opposite question raised by the comparison of Panopticism to the digital age, however, is if it’s actually effective as a means to control behavior. Despite an ever-thickening digital web, there has been no marked drop in crime rates or deviant behavior, and if anything both of these have been in some way encouraged by the omni-presence of digital technology and tracking. Is this a deficiency in the metaphor, or is there some variety of behavior for which Foucault does not account which undermines the implementation of a Panoptic system?

3: And drawing from the above (again), perhaps the metaphor is a flawed one because a lot of people do not realize that they are in a Panoptic scenario. An essential part of the Panopticon as a socializing influence on criminals and the insane is that they are aware that they are under constant surveillance. While this may be the reality of the digital era, it is by no means one which is completely or even widely known or realized in day-to-day activities. Does the metaphor fail because authority has not made itself explicitly known? Does there need to be a physical component?

Discipline: A mechanism of power that regulates behavior. I think our society generally conceives of discipline as either a punishment or a refinement of behavior, but does not always put the two concepts together in one definition. Foucault demonstrates this combination in his writing and how such mechanisms are used by power structures to promote desired behavior.

Representational Power

by melissarogers


Space: that which we create in and around us by virtue of our bodily presence, by virtue of our relationships with other bodies (including objects), and by virtue of practices of representation (digital or otherwise).

Place: those specific spaces to which we are affectively attached, bound, or oriented toward by virtue of meaningful relationships with other bodies (including objects), through embodied practices of power (biopolitics), and through practices of representation, visualization, and mapping.

Identity: the enduring bodily and psychic perception and conception of self across spacetime(s), including the extension of self through cultural tools, technologies, and virtualities.


1. I was intrigued and somewhat skeptical of Edward Soja’s conceptualization of justice. Soja extends the definition of justice out from its primarily legal framework to include notions of “fairness” in everyday life and social interaction (20), and although he argues that justice is being sought in new political realms including the spatial, I thought he oversimplified the ways in which multiple visions of and routes to social justice can be contentious and disciplinary. For example, he writes, “Justice in the contemporary world has been developing a political meaning that transcends the defined categories of race, gender, class, nationality, sexual preference, and other forms of homogenous and often exclusive group or community identity” (23). While I understand his point that an abstract or mobile understanding of “justice” has in some senses taken on a life of its own, I wonder if he has not overestimated the extent to which justice can be the “organizational and motivational adhesive” of social movements (24). How, then, might we better historicize “justice” to see the various ways in which social movements have been about access to or the politics of certain forms of space? How might focusing on many and multiple definitions of justice give us insight into the ways individuals and collectives value, define, and practice space?

2. Paglen and Harpold emphasize the extent to which the power of maps relies on an absence/presence binary. If all forms of representation and visualization are to some extent caught in this trap, will alternative forms of representation necessitate alternative conceptualizations of space, via Lefebvre? How might we craft representations of space that get at the ways space is practiced rather than defined from the top-down or from the “God’s-eye” perspective? I think participatory mapping attempts to solve this problem, however it is still beholden to the ways power organizes our understandings of absence and presence.

3. Paglen writes, “blank spots on maps and blacked-out documents announce the fact that there’s something hidden….Blank spots on maps outline the things they seek to conceal” (17). Dovetailing on my previous question, I’m wondering about the subversion or the frustration of surveillance in relationship to absence and presence. Are “absent”, “empty”, “blank”, or “invisible” spaces necessarily unable to be surveilled? Similarly, how might the blind spots of certain forms of power be exploited to hide things in plain view?

Making Meaning Out of Power & Secret Spaces/Places

by robertjiles

Making Meaning Out of Power & Secret Spaces/Places

1)    While reading this week’s articles I kept thinking about how much mapping a landscape relies on a person’s connection to a space/place and how his or her experience there can play a role in how that landscape’s identity is defined in a national narrative and how that narrative shapes my perception of space and even time when thinking about that landscape. Paglen’s “Wastelands” chapter title’s use of double entendre illustrates how two different experiences can be mapped onto a Landscape, providing different meanings. Because the “settlers” traveling toward a grab for gold in California imagined the Shoshone land to be “synonymous with pestilence and death,” that image of the landscape was reified historically as such. However, the counter narrative from the experience of the Shoshone people describes a land that was/is capable of sustaining human life. The space that once belonged to the Shoshone includes the desert region known as the Death Valley, which was named by errant “settlers” in the 19th Century. Being a native of Southern California, I have taken many road trips from the Los Angeles area for a weekend getaway to Las Vegas. A portion of the road trip is through Death Valley. The name alone connotes a lifeless and barren landscape; I never imagined that people ever inhabited the region. Until reading Paglen this week I was unaware of how the “settler’s” disparaging reification of this particular space informed my understanding of it as a lifeless empty space. But I now understand it as a place that had/has meaning to the Shoshone tribe for thousands of years. An erasure of this meaning also erases the Shoshone people’s identity.

2)  I too like Tatiana am trying to understand the significance of giving primacy of space over history. It would seem that when considering the lives of marginalized people in urban spaces, a fight for justice and political power work in tandem with the way their identities have been constructed historically. To fight against oppressive power, knowing its history is important. Couldn’t both be given equal importance?

3) Paglen’s discovery of blank spots on the map of the Nevada desert illustrates how power has the privilege to map and (un)map space and create open secrets. The secret is open because as Paglen states, “ you can’t make something disappear completely” (17). Reading this chapter gave me a better understanding of how mapping works in relation to power and exposed the unobvious ways that mapping can both hide and make space and place.

Weekly Post: Soja, Paglen, Harpold

by jessicavooris

1) Paglen’s work on blank spots reminds us that mapping and maps are not just about how particular places are represented but also about the places that are left unmarked or hidden.  He also emphasizes again how maps are linked to knowledge and power.  Furthermore, “What we see strongly guides what we do: To an extent, we enact what we imagine.” (56) This line caught my attention and I wonder how we might relate it to discussion we have already had in class around mapping and digital space. We have talked about space in terms of social relations and philosophy; how is this related to imagination?

2) “Recasting the fractiousness of material culture in the tidy efficiencies of the digital sample, they hide nascent lines of force that thread through and across those stark divides.” (Harpold, 37).  This quote made me wonder if we can return to our conversation about the material and the digital in terms of both the internet/cyberspace and maps/mapping?

3) Soja writes that “Since we construct our multiscalar geographies, or they are constructed for us by more powerful others, it follows that we can act to change or reconfigure them to increase the positive or decrease the negative affects.”  I would like to discuss this more in class, who is it that has the ability to construct particular geographies and to change them? How are maps part of that construction? What role might participatory-map making have with Soja’s idea of spatial justice?


Space: relationship between bodies and objects; understood in relation to our embodied experience of the world, the meaning that we attach to the  areas that we move through–be they virtual or physical. Cannot be separated from our concepts of time.  “we are just as much spatial as temporal beings, that our existential spatiality and temporality are essentially or ontologically coequal, equivalent in explanatory power and behavioral significance, interwoven in a mutually formative relation.” (Soja, 16).  It can not be seen as merely physical or philosophical, it is also social.

The body: that through which we experience the world, connected intimately with our conceptions of space.  “Everybody has a body, nobody can escape from their body, and consequently all human activity–every form of individual and collective practice–is a situated practice and thus geographical.” ( Paglen quoting Allan Pred, 17)

week 5: maps representation and power

by justinsprague

I’m interested in Paglen’s discussion on “missing space” as “secret space” (17). What intrigues me are the cultural/imperial aspects. In considering space as ‘owned’ and the mapping of that space written in a complex power struggle, I wonder, if there are blurry or blank spot elsewhere in the world? If America ‘owns’ google maps and our modern conception of the world, do they also exploit the use of satellite gps and map everywhere except only American secrets?

I’m very intrigued by Paglen’s use of “wastelands,” in particular the Shoshone historical reference, particularly the reoccupation of the land and the federal abduction of the cattle (60). The right to ownership and the forceful taking back of land makes me think of how this occurrence plays out online. Since digital space is more abstract, how does policing, ownership, the forceful control of someone else’s content play itself out? This is kind of speaking to soja and spatial justice, and I’m less interested in the legal aspects of it, but very interested in the process and the physical act of claiming, reclaiming, and stealing space online.

To reimagine Harpold’s use of metageographies, I wonder if these can be applicable on a more specific scale. Thinking of my digital space example I will be showing in class today, WithS2 is a fansubbing site, so applying a sort of colonial discourse to this space is interesting. For instance, what kind of colonial aspects are at play here? For one, Korea has very little tangible return from this site, other than the possibility of other cultural products being consumed by English speaking audiences. The content is appropriated from a non-native source; however, the vast majority of the content is translated by diasporic Koreans and 2nd/3rd generation immigrants. This is all packaged within the larger image of a grab-and-go style website where active participation is encouraged but not crucial. What’s happening here? Where is the blank space and what are its implications? What about distortion? (this makes me think of Harpold’s “raw material” to wired metropole discussion in #38). I hope to be able to stir this pot in my digital presentation today.

Maps, Representations, and Power

by tatianabenjamin

Space: Soja’s definition of space is of particular interest to me. He argues for understanding space as always being filled with politics and ideologies (19). This goes back to previous discussions about space not being void. Space does require bodies but even without those bodies politics and ideology remain.

Place: Paglen cites Lefebvre in his discussion of place.  “….Pre-existing space underpins not only durable spatial arrangements but also representational spaces and their attendant imagery and mythic narratives” (56). What I found intriguing about this quote is the part about “mythic narratives.” Our understanding of place is always impacted by the stories we have heard. These stories whether true or not impact out imaginary in relation to that space.


  1. Soja’s text, Seeking Spatial Justice, argues for a privileging and/or acknowledgement of the primacy of spatiality in understanding space and justice. I tried to follow his line of reasoning but I am unsure how this privileging will paly out. In other words, what does it actually look like to privilege spatiality as an analytic? It is hard for me to conceptualize because I automatically infuse history with space and trying t untangle them is difficult for me.
  2. Reading Paglen’s text made me think about my own project as it is continually being reshaped. I found his questions in the beginning to of interest to me. Where are bodies being moved? Why are these bodies being moved? This speaks to understanding space as political, as well as the importance of history to understanding these politics. Why are black and brown bodies being deported? It is more than an issue of resources in my opinion. I think it would be interesting to talk more about these relationships of spatiality, politics, and history.
  3. Paglen states, “The world, in short, ahs been elaborately and meticulously mapped. The images I was looking for were missing, not because the desert hadn’t been mapped, but because what they showed was secret” (12).  This portion of the text made be question issues of power. What is gained and lost in the creation of maps? Who are we hiding information me? Who has the power to create what is seen and taken away? I would like to explore power beyond just an understanding things being taken but the ways in which power is enacted.

by jessicawalker

I remained entirely confused by Harpold’s use of the “dark continent.” At times it would seem that he’s on board with what Soja is calling for: a spatial consciousness that takes into account that space is represented with political interest in mind. Yet can we say Harpold elided the idea that geographies allow for “political domination based on race, gender, and nationality (Soja, 19)” By his uncritical use of the ‘Dark Continent’ as metaphor?

Soja resonates with Sassen’s article from last week in that they both seek to re-imagine the relationship between the global and the local. While Soja focuses on uniting ‘spatial’ and ‘justice’ in order to create coalitions across struggles, Sassen focuses on digitalization for geographic empowerment. Sassen argues that the digital can give local environments global span. So what is Harpold asking? It seems that he at times dismisses the local and everyday for a broader and sometimes clunky critique of dominate forms of space visualization. Does Harpold get us closer to integrating Soja and Sassen’s theoretical frames in the materiality of representation?

How do we consider the non-representational in practices like mapping? Are cognitive landscapes to e accounted for in how space gets represented?

Space: A infinite processes whereby interconnecting systems of global, social, cultural and embodied knowledges inform the value of place. Space is a right.

Place: Fixed in the material and moving freely. Facilitated by place marking objects like maps.

Identity:  How you make sense of places’ relationships to the idea of individualism.

“What the hell is that?” “It’s where you’ve been living this whole time.”

by averydame

Drawing from Soja’s discussion of spatiality: I’ve long been fascinated by the way websites, as spaces, shape conversation and change how users interpret co-participants’ motivations. As has long been noted, certain conversational cues such as prosody and nonverbal cues are lost in non face-to-face interactions. Thus, tools like the “emoticon” arose to compensate. None of that it particularly new. But I would argue, though, the specific strictures of a given space shape how users compensate: tags and gifs on tumblr, in example. These changes can also have more serious effects, such as the legitimization of social pressure to silence in-group deviants, which becomes the highly problematic “call out culture.”  What are some other changes, and more importantly, why does it matter that these spaces shape discourses?

So, I was reading Cassy’s post, and I’d actually like to bounce of that a bit, because it meets with part of what I’ve been thinking about. As she notes, Paglen’s blank spots may be read as black because they are spaces “occupied by women and/or feminized bodies.” How does this function in discussion of group spaces online? In example, the “discovery” by news organizations of mommy bloggers or transgender support groups by non-members. how and why does this discovery afford them “legitimacy”?

The graphic for this post is taken from Google’s visualization of Internet users using World Bank Data. For a different “progression” of percentage of population connected versus user  number (specifically because I think its commentary is relevant to Harpold’s article), see this flash infographic from the BBC. Both are based on, of course, Mercator projections. I’d be interested to talk about how mobile technologies have both changed and reinforced the dynamics of Harpold’s maps. What other borders, beyond national-political, create divisions of access?

Definition (Ongoing):

Community – A grouping of people that comes together around shared values or qualities. This group may have religious, social, political, and/or cultural aspects, perceives itself as distinct from others, and members may share cultural or historical connections. May have significant ties to a given space.

(Post title reference: “Like this. The map is flipped over.” “Yeah, but you can’t do that.” “Why not?” “‘Cause it’s freaking me out.”)

Maps: academia,invisibility, secrecy…

by felixburgos

1. Perhaps this might sound off, but I was thinking about the emphasis that Soja and Paglen put on the role of academia in the configuration of spatial justice and geographical design. In Soja’s article, spatial justice is a concept that arises from local (and global) social movements that make academia “rethink” about the different possibilities to define and theorize about spatial justice. Something that really annoys me about academia is that, in our position, we tend to “analyze” the movements and their demands, but the commitment with such social groups is always limited by certain aspects of “power differentials.” I believe that many of us have read/think about this, but how can academia be more involved in such processes? Soja gives me some hope because of the different projects he mentions at the end of the chapter, but I am still hesitant about the actions of our disciplines in social life.

2. Visibility and invisibility are powerful ideas that I got from the three articles. While Paglen looks at these concepts from the perspective of secrecy, Soja analyzes them from the lack of spatial justice, and Harpold looks at it from the notion of presence/absence. This makes me think also of the article on participatory mapping that we read last class. It occurs to me that (in)visibility is constantly present in the configuration of space. I would dare to say that such notion of not being present is the part of space that nobody wants to recognize (poverty, social inequality, taboos, anything that goes against the system of values of a given society, everything that is deviant). Now, I wonder if the (lack of) use of technologies in our society is also a consequence of (in)visibility. In terms of the digital age, which could be the places that we could consider invisible? Could we think for example of parts of the cities or countries where there’s no internet or phone access? What are the implications of not being present in the map of certain technological services when thinking about the digital age?

3. I’d like to make a connection from Harpold’s article with something that is occurring right now in the world. For Harpold the misrepresentation of conditions of access and identity “are likely to return to the real as consequences of economic policy, military intervention, and technological and symbolic exclusion” (para. 42). This makes me think of the recent news about Iran and its government’s decision to create their own version of internet.  I would not dare to say that I am in favor or against to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s government (since everything I got from the news and from Iranian people in the U.S. is quite contradictory). However, it is also true that any person in our ‘free’ world that read this article from the Washington Post would definitively be sorry about the level of repression imposed by the Iranian government on its people. Anyways, in the Post’s article I found this part very interesting: “We have concerns from not only a human rights perspective, but about the integrity of the Internet,” David Baer, deputy assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, said in an interview. “When countries section off parts of the Web, not only do their citizens suffer, everyone does.” In a sense, what I can understand is that Mr. Baer is putting the internet at the level of human rights, and therefore the Western world has no other option but to isolate Iran in a kind of ‘Dark Continent’. I don’t know if this would generate a military intervention in Iran, but I’m sure that more sanctions are expected.

Space [revisited]:

It is possible to think about Space from the physical and the social realms (although both are inherently connected). From a physical perspective, space could be related to the way in which the body enters in connection with other bodies or objects. Therefore, what we can sense, smell, see could be considered as the primary level of the recognition of space. However, such physical relation cannot be separated from social relationships that are conformed within those spaces. As Soja argues, space is “filled with politics, ideology, and other forces shaping our lives and challenging us to engage in struggles over geography” (Soja, 2010, p. 19). I would say that Soja’s argument is related to Henri Lefevbre’s notion that space is produced according to the social relationships that occur through time: “space is neither a ‘subject’ nor an ‘object’ but rather a social reality –that is to say, a set of relations and forms” (Lefebvre, 1991, 116).

Spatial Justice:

This concept comes from the recognition that the interactions between privilege and power shape the production of space. Therefore, spatial justice is a practice with a political objective that intends to give relevance to the way our geographies are constructed in the context of (in)justice, the uneven development of the global (and local) economy, and the way these geographies “can be changed through forms of social and political action” (Soja, 2010, p. 20).

Emptiness and Blank Spots

by cassygriff

1. Like Avery, this week’s readings got me thinking about the ways in which we map things that are not strictly geographical. I’m thinking specifically about the ways we do (or don’t) map digital spaces, even though we call them spaces and think about them in terms of space and place. What would a map of Facebook look like? Reddit (Alyssa…)? Would these maps necessarily rely on the spatial locations of users (like the maps in Harpold’s piece) or would they look different? I’d be really interested to see or try to conceptualize a map of digital space, especially in terms of Paglen’s “blank spots.” What would be there? Where would the gaps be?

2.I’m really intrigued by Paglen’s discussion of the politics of emptiness and the particularly American desire to fill up space or to utilize emptiness as a rationale for land grabs and various colonial projects. However, I’d like to put this chapter in conversation with Andrea Smith’s Conquest (I know I’ve already done this once, but she provides a really great analytic for space/place) and argue that the idea of emptiness and empty space is not only “not just dead background or a neutral physical stage” but also “not just […] a gender neutral physical stage” (Soja 19). In other words, while Paglen beautifully comments on the creation (both in thought and practice) of wastelands, I think he misses a key point in the colonial process that writers like Smith and Anzaldua place at the fore: spaces occupied by women and/or feminized bodies are often deemed empty. This is compounded by a particular kind of gendered racism in which fullness can only mean fullness when a space (or a body) is occupied by white men.

3.My final question/comment revolves around the importance of the visual in map-making as well as the construction of “dark continents” and “blank spots” on maps. While Paglen gestures towards the “silence” of emptiness, the generall discussion throughout these readings is about that which has not yet been or cannot be seen. Hence, things are “dark” and “blank” and either able to be visualized or somehow hidden or invisible. While vision is obviously (in my experience, for example, as a sighted person) tantamount in creating maps, I do wonder how this reliance on the visual impacts the very work that maps do or can do. What would an auditory map sound like? What would the blank space be—silence? What about Braille maps and other maps that rely on touch? Would emptiness and secrecy function the same way in the visual wasn’t so primary?

Bodies: The physical means by which we interact with the world. While physical, these bodies must also be understood as constructs that both shape and are shaped by the spaces with which they interact.

Place: A space imbued with meanings that come both from the person inhabiting or considering that place, but also from outside, often larger institutional forces. Can be hidden or made secret. Would this be one of the ways that a place reverts back to a space?

Maps as Secret Keepers — Psych!

by alyssaneuner

Essentially what Soja is doing here is emphasizing the idea that bodies are both spatial and temporal – they do not exist separately or as one or the other. I can appreciate the text here because Soja is striving for a coexistence of not only spatiality and temporality but sociality as well, suggesting that all three work together to define the human being and experience. What resonates with me most about this work is the idea that geography (like history) is both real and imagined – these places are created through social relationships in a specific space but they can also be imagined in the idea of a place, or images, etc. This for me is what solidifies this idea that human life is both real and imagined “simultaneously and interactively” (18). If the human experience is meant to be collective, than, both geography and justice can be seen similarly.

I like this idea of spaces created out of pure secrecy and the power that the government has when it claims spaces to be secret, or blank spots. So not only is marking a territory a symbol of power but having the ability to leave something blank or remove it from sight is a representation of power as well. Maps, as we saw last week, have the ability to not only make visible bodies invisible and vice-a-versa, but they have the ability to cover things up. When it comes to geography things can only be covered up like a “Band-Aid.” This idea is interesting, because not only is the map telling you something is there by hiding it, it’s essentially taunting you. “Secrets, in other words, often inevitably announce their own existence (17)”; this is something I can stand behind. I’d like to explore this concept further in some form of another in my research.

Harpold emphasizes the point of maps lying or being deceptive, insofar as maps can only represent as much as the media they are created for. Also, they are representative of the creator’s perspective as well (or to some extent their perspective). For example, Mercator’s map emphasizes the northern hemisphere (or so many see) as being larger than all the rest of the continents while Peter’s map was seen as propagandistic and just ugly. I also thought the idea that “users of maps depend on them to discover unities and identities across space and time that are meaningful first of all because they are mapped that way” – the map is a symbol and represents things that we can see but also cannot see. We cannot physically see boundaries but we assume they are there, we also cannot see identities directly unless they are mapped a certain way.

Maps for Text-Based Game Worlds (Zork)

by admin

For my graduate seminar, we have been exploring the connection between maps, embodiment, and the production of space. As an experiment in proprioception, we decided to get our bearings playing Zork. We played two short sessions of 5 minutes each. The first time, we simply wandered and tried to get as far as we could. The second time, we started over, but I asked each student to draw a map to keep track of our position in the game world. We all experienced the feeling of getting lost in the space and, interestingly, the maps seemed to only highlight the feeling of being lost (e.g., “According to my map, we should be back at the house instead of here!”). The “cognitive maps” created while wandering offered a very different sense of proprioception than the maps which they drew as we played. Here are the maps below (for only the very first potion of the game):

Weekly Post 5

by alexcarson

1: Soja begins by talking about, if not a dichotomy, a separation between spacial and temporal thinking. While I don’t mean to claim that Soja has declared these two necessarily exclusive, he does highlight that in the history of academic thought it generally has been. What I wonder is if this is the same historically or presently in other cultures. In my many anthropology classes I’ve learned that Western conceptions of time as a progression (rather than, for example, a cycle) are rather new, and I would be interested to see if scholarship from other cultures shared our focus on time with their varying conceptions of time.

2: Late in the reading, Soja addresses social and political movements for “justice” of varying types in response to the inequities of the new economy. He states in the chapter that justice has been encouraged as a “unifying force”. While he does bring up some examples, I feel these are contradicted by other movements for “justice” that have occurred in the wake of globalization. While these unified movements are there, I could point to several examples where movements for justice have been quite dichotomous and still in an “us vs. them” mindset, even if not by intent. As an example, one could argue that in the wake of the movement for liberty and justice against the regime of Hosni Mubarak, a very pluralistic effort, his successors to power comprise of groups which arguably support limiting rights and freedoms in their own manner and are very much a polarizing influence. I’m forced to ask how much traction this notion of a unifying push for social justice has on a global scale.

3: The whole of Soja readings and the notion of spacial justice has very much gotten me thinking. I’ve heard a great deal about gentrification and the movement of the young elite back into the cities, often to the apparent detriment of the those already living there. In addressing gentrification, how do we balance the liberty that Soja espouses – which would presumably include the right of individuals to live where they please – and economic justice for the current residents without impugning upon anyone’s rights, liberties, or livelihood? I believe that this is the sort of question spatial justice should seek to address – very much a problem of space – and an area where it can be directly applied.

Justice – Justice, as defined by Soja, is a conjunction of fairness and rights accorded by the law in order to guarantee that the former is established while the latter are preserved to the maximum possible extent in a society.

Temporal thinking – Somewhat of a pidgin definition. Temporal thinking which previously dominated (at least Western) academic thought examined the world as a series of events with a minimal accounting for space. While temporal and spacial thinking are by no means inherently dichotomous, they have been treated as such until recently.

Google’s “Ground Truth”

by melissarogers


An article about the technology behind Google Maps, with a reference to UMD’s Nathan Jurgenson.

Mapping and Embodying Space Across Borders

by averydame
  1. How would one define digital borders (if one believes they exist at all)? Are border crossings online different from crossing physical ones? How? I’m particularly interested in these questing because of my own interest in the ways linguistic borders are pervasive (yet invisible) online. As an example, China produces huge amount of “internet traffic,” yet those outside of its immediate geographical sphere of influence often have no idea just how many Chinese communicate online–except, of course, when the story is of interest to (in my case) and English-speaking audience because it fits the “right” kind of narrative.
  2. Moving ahead to Albertschlund (maybe this question can be returned to, since I’ve already read Albertschlund outside of class), how can we see participatory surveillance acting in the spaces Manovich talks about? Is there value in being complicit in one’s surveillance?
  3. Reading Sletto’s article (as well as the responses), I was reminded of Basso’s discussion of place in Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache. Some of the Apache he works with in the book are ambivalent about the idea of mapping as “setting down” places which exist primarily as resinous of stories – to go to the place is to experience its meaning. Thus, I wonder what it would mean to think of certain places as not being meant to be mapped?


Fluency – To have a familiarity which enables one to speak and move easily. Relies on interior knowledge without needing support from others. Has the character of flowing.