Media’s Mapping Impulse
Cartography is one of the oldest forms of media. In both cartography and media, meaning, ideology, and power are habitually arbitrated across and through space and time. While critical cartographers have shed light on mapping’s innate tendency toward the objectification of spatial relations, a (masculine) gaze that it cannot disown, these same power relations are equally embedded in media’s voyeuristic and controlling tendencies. Media, moreover, in all its diverse forms, has an underlying mapping impulse – a proclivity to comprehend itself and be rendered comprehensible through metaphors of topologies, networks, and flows that lead to the constant evacuation of spaces in order to produce places of communication. 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. 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.
And yet, the mapping impulse of media is both overt and subtle. Think, for instance, of the subtle duplicity of Hollywood’s runaway productions, which creatively map Toronto as the “other” New York, Romania as North Carolina, or South Africa as California. Developments in mobile computing have not only increased the pace, flow, and interaction of media across space, but also the ubiquity, and thus the taken-for-grantedness, of mapping. More and more, owing to the practices of the neogeographers of the Geoweb, media requires a geographical situatedness in which and for which media can take place. Here, locative media relies on programming languages and APIs to construct geo-fencing, geo-tagging, and geo-coding and to produce applications and services that localize and individualize information to one’s liminal, transitory, and fleeting lived space. Consider, for example, the ways in which (geo)web 2.0 unites one’s virtual and physical presence (if such a distinction can be made) via services such as FourSquare or Facebook check-ins that announce one’s whereabouts to friends and acquaintances.
With this collection of papers we seek to illuminate media’s mapping impulse by exploring 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. Media’s Mapping Impulse will be an international and interdisciplinary gathering of essays to be printed in the acclaimed Media Geography at Mainz (MGM) book series (www.geo.uni-mainz.de/mgm). 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 media studies; GIS as media and the use of GIS to understand media; sensorial 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 mobilities, haptical and emotional cartographies; urban planning, media and the revisualization of place.
Those interested in participating should send an extended abstract (750-1,000 words), along with a curriculum vitae and contact information, to Laura Sharp (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line “Media’s Mapping Impulse.” We ask that all proposals be submitted on or before September 15th, 2015. Responses to these proposals will be returned by November 1st, 2015. If selected, full papers will be expected on or before March 31, 2015. A blind review will be conducted on all papers. Final papers will be due no later than June 1, 2016. All authors selected for the final collection will be welcome to attend the “Media’s Mapping Impulse” symposium to be held at the Institute of Geography at the Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz in June 2016.