[ISEA2017] Paper: Lawrence Bird — Un-Earths: Disorientation, landscape & the industrialized map


Keywords: Mapping, Video, Projection Mapping, Epistemology, Stiegler, Borders, Parallel, Latitude, Longitude, Meridia

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 ISEA2017. 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.

  • Lawrence Bird, Winnipeg, Canada, Architect, Visual Artist at Ager Little Architects.  Lawrence has trained in architecture, urban design, film and visual arts; he works across these fields. He is fascinated by images of cities and regions, and relationships between image and materiality. His visual art focuses on the political and social dimensions of imaging technologies and the space they document. His work has been installed and screened in Winnipeg, Halifax, Toronto, Montréal, London (UK), and Brussels. He has taught at McGill University, the University of Manitoba, Kanazawa International Design Institute (Japan), and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Lawrence has written for Critical Planning, Mechademia, Chora: Intervals in the Philosophy of Architecture, Leonardo, and  furtherfield.org, among other venues. vimeo.com/lawrencebird

Full text (PDF) p. 398-407