Media’s Mapping Impulse

MGM's current initiative is focused on "Media's Mapping Impluse."  A group of 30 scholars from around the world will gather in Mainz, Germany June 17th and 18th for a symposium on the topic.  This symposium will be the foundation for a MGM book on the subject.  Names and abstracts will be posted to this blog soon.

Cartography is one of the oldest forms of media and while mapping implies and objectification of spatial relations it cannot disown its gaze (Rose 1995) nor the inherent and embedded power relations that come from its voyeuristic and controlling tendencies.  Mass media in all its forms has an underlying mapping impulse - topologies, networks and flows lead to spaces constantly being used up to produce places of communication.  Meaning, ideology and power are habitually arbitrated across and through space, time, and the aether of media.  Mobile computing has only increased the pace, flow, and interaction of media across space and requires a geographical situatedness in which and for which media to take place.  The mapping impulse of media is overt and subtle: Think of how Hollywood’s runaway productions creatively maps Toronto as the “other” New York, Romania as North Carolina, or South Africa as California; Or, think of how locative media relies of geo-fencing, geo-tagging, and geo-coding to produce applications and services that localize and individualizes information to one’s liminal, transitory, and fleeting lived space; Or, think of how (geo)web 2.0 situates one’s virtual world via Facebook check-ins that announce your whereabouts to friends and acquaintances or Instagram’s geo-tagging of pictures (performing something).  And yet, this mapping impulse is hardly new, but rather has been part of media all along.  Visual media, for instance, developed out of a mapping impulse during the Renaissance, which led to the scopic regimes of projectionism and perspectivalism and their related technologies.  Moreover, both media and cartography are never static, but rather are ongoing scopic and discursive regimes that continually make and remake the terms in which we understand and interact with our world.  With this collection of papers we seek to explore the relationship between cartography, geospatial technologies, and locative media on the one hand, and new and traditional media forms such as social media, mobile apps, television, film, and music, on the other. 

 Possible themes and areas of focus for this book include, but are not limited to: montage and bricolage; the cartographic paradox and cartographic anxiety; the spatial turn in communication and media studies; GIS as media and the use of GIS to understand media; auditory cartographies, sound and musical maps; cinematic cartographies; locative media, mobile apps, and the everyday; sharing economies (AirBnB, Couch Surfing, Uber) and the map; architectonics, spatial mobilites and haptical cartographies; urban planning, media and the revisualization of place; and sensorial cartographies.