27th Sep2012

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I’m very intrigued by Paglen’s use of “wastelands,” in particular the Shoshone historical reference, particularly the reoccupation of the land and the federal abduction of the cattle (60).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.

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