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UN-EARTHS: DISORIENTATION, LANDSCAPE & THE INDUSTRIALIZED MAP

UN-EARTHS: DISORIENTATION, LANDSCAPE & THE INDUSTRIALIZED MAP

Lawrence Bird / Canada
University of Manitoba
Paper
https://vimeo.com/lawrencebird

This paper addresses the failures of the modern mapping project understood through three creative works in video and projection- mapping, discussing them in terms drawn from Bernard Stiegler’s writing on industrialized memory. The three works harvest moving satellite images associated with significant geopolitical frame- works: the 49th Parallel, the Greenwich Prime Meridian, and Canada’s Dominion Land Survey, exposing anomalies and opacities in imagery gathered there. One of these videos, parallel, is being screened at ISEA 2017.

The paper articulates these works as amplifications of the failure of the modern project to transparently map the world. Rather, such frameworks — in both their historical forms and their contemporary manifestations in GPS, GLONASS, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems, and popular tools such as Google Earth — are rife with anomalies and errors. Counterintuitively, such failures are built into the industrialization of knowledge; as Stiegler puts it, the straight line generates the bent. This is even more the case as the mapping project be- comes a temporal archive.