20th Sep2012

week 4: mapping and pervasive computing

by justinsprague

1) This thought has sort of been on my mind while reading Dr. Farman’s second chapter, and not really in one particular spot, but I wonder, if our concept of space is being consistently more and more dependent on digital media to layer our surroundings, I’m interested to know how we internalize or have learned to cope with the lag time? This makes me think about when digital cameras were first becoming accessible and I got one (a real shitty one at that). I spent a day walking around my neighborhood looking through the camera, not taking pictures but observing the lag time between someone walking and when it would appear on my little camera screen. How are we responding to the changes in mapping? Like this example, or when the gps is ‘recalculating’ randomly when driving, or when Dr. Farmans phone showed him a half mile from where he’s was at. What’s going on during that time (I suppose this is kind of oddly speaking back to Thrift as well as Sassen’s analytic borderlands)?

2) Sassen states, “The complex imbrications between the digital (as well as the global) and the nondigital bring with them a destabilizing of older hierarchies of scale and often dramatic rescalings. As the national scale loses significance, along with the loss of key components of the nation-state’s formal authority over the national scale, other scales gain strategic importance” (187). While she is speaking more directly to nationhood boundaries and hierarchies when she speaks to the issue of scale, I’m more interested in this blurring of local and global when it comes specifically to cultural products. To pair her idea of the ‘far flung span’ of the local with Farman’s case study of the Baghdad San Francisco map, I couldn’t help but think of the YouTube sensation “gangnam style” right now. In particular, the evolution of meaning between localities and the simultaneous mapping of Beverly Hills on Gangnam Province to create parallels for foreigners to relate to the social commentary of the music video. When does it stop being ‘Korean’ and become simple a global cultural product?

2) Sletto notes that “desires, fantasies, and fears shape and are shaped by both the material and the symbolic pro-duction of landscapes. In turn, these subjectivities lead to the production of specific spatialities, for example, spatial imaginaries such as Rosa Emilia’s map of places she had never seen but which she nevertheless intensely desired to see” (446). While this article discusses the cultural implications of mapping physical boundaries when blurred with third world or indigenous cultures, specifically in regard to the hegemony or the first world/third world divide, I wonder how mythology works in this landscape. Can the mapping of ‘nonexistent’ places be a subversive act? Maybe I’m reaching here..

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