Mapping Beyond Cartography: the Experimental Maps of Artists Working with Locative Media
Frodsham, Daniel James
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To allow publication of thesis material
The experimental maps produced by artists working with locative media both bear witness to and participate in a radical reworking of the way in which space is conceived and encountered that destabilizes longstanding assumptions about the nature of representation, knowledge, and power. These mapmaking practices, it is argued, operate at the juncture of a cartographic tradition that entails distinctively modern ways of seeing, knowing, and acting in the world, and digital technologies and software operations that propose alternative ways of linking the world up. The thesis charts how these art maps engage in a critique of cartography, the extent to which they remain indebted to it, but also their use of coded operations to pioneer novel apprehensions of space that mark a decisive ‘break’ with a modern worldview. The map works of locative media are accordingly positioned in relation to what is seen as a paradigmatic shift from Cartographic Space to Code Space, and the analysis of case studies supplies a means of comprehending this ongoing transformation, demonstrating that mapping survives beyond cartography but entails a tearing apart of the cartographic surface and the representational epistemology that accompanies it. Gone are the compass, scale and fix-points by which, for centuries, a sense of place was anchored and the world made knowable, yet to be set adrift in this way is not to be left ‘all at sea’. Working with the novel intuitions, forms and geometries that arise from the operations of software code, post-cartographical mapping practices continue to supply a sense of orientation. However, they also pioneer novel forms of territory, and power over territory, that call for new strategies of counter-mapping and, with it, a ‘post-cartographical’ reframing of the study of locative media. Now pictured as a site of contestation between antithetical spatial paradigms, locative media is rehabilitated as a vital force, operating at a pivotal moment, in a broadly epoch-defining reshaping of space and spatial representation.
PhD in English