Urban space is a densely woven fabric; a multi-layered tapestry of different actors and institutions, cultures and political agendas. Living in the city means to co-inhabit a multiplicity of real and virtual spaces. Locative media’s potential to turn the urban fabric into a canvas promises to open up a playground for probing into subjectivities and multiplicities that conventional map making practices are blind to. The playground of locative media arts practices however also links critically to the technologies and politics of spatialisation and the historicity of cartographic practices. Probing into the fluid and fragile anatomies of the physical and social spaces we inhabit thus involves a critique of maps and map making practices as social constructions of the world. After all, as John Harley argues, maps redescribe the world in terms of relations of power and cultural practices, rather than providing a representation of nature (2001).
This paper will look at the potentials for the map to become a tool of intervention itself. It will introduce the performative map-making practice of my work Impossible Geographies 02: Urban Fiction, a locative media and installation environment concerned with the multiplicity of spaces, lived and mapped, and the connections and
fissures they produce in the urban fabric. The exploration is situated in a critical discourse involving John Harley’s deconstruction of the map, and feminist, postcolonial and visual culture perspectives. The discussion involves a critical
account of locative media practices with regards to linking geographic locations (and relations) to social positions (and relations). In summary, the argument of this paper is that we are still far from probing and mapping Debord’s ‘lived space’ (1977).
- Petra Gemeinboeck College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Australia
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