Re: [-empyre-] co-evolution

sorry for being late.
I am an artist and now working on a project were I'm trying to make the character of the satellite image graspable physically, this within an art gallery setting. It will be a constantly ongoing download of still new sat images through a radio scanner, which kind of correlates to the interesting idea of freeing up memory space. The newest image is the actual one, making the older one instantly unactual. The satellite image, as well as the GPS I suppose, is always a realtime broadcast, or a constant now, which brings in notions of time/space/body into questioning. There is a constant "freeing up of memory space" going on. It reminds me very much of Baudrillards car drive, but here, at satellite "level", one doesn't drive through the landscape. In fact, there is no driver at all, the image itself drives towards the (its) landscape or maybe better, map. Maybe looking at yourself in a mirror is a kind of equivalent to the loss of the photo-album? The physical memory is represented from "the other side", in realtime.

The satellite landscape image is flat. As far as I understand it, even with GPS representations of movements become a question of pointing out coordinates in a x,y fashion (I'm here), leaving out experiences of altitude (which makes me very curious on Bretts ongoing climbing adventure). This leaving out makes way for, I guess, the image itself to "move" along the z axis. This makes sense thinking of Crandalls camera/bomb. The camera itself moves along an axis of seizure or destruction, but one could also think of this seizure as a representation of movement in x,y. The z axis is a communication axis, communicating and mapping activities in x,y, and because the targeted surface/earth moves, as well as the satellite/sensor, the z axis needs to constantly "reorganize", empty itself, free up space.

trace/trail, I was there, I get there (weather forecast as animated imagery), physical memory. There is cultural heritage or memory embedded in these images, and operating in the software used to draw them, namely cartographic projection methods. These methods were developed to represent the earth in maps as truly as possible, or for specific purposes like navigation. So what is truly? The first methods of projection tended to draw Europe much bigger than it (actually) (is). Other methods where developed to cope with such issues. Now these projections serve to draw the images according to our expectations on how the world looks like. So we need to choose a method on how to look. Funny, isn't it?


Bjørn Wangen
Ystadsgatan 38
214 44 Malmö

Teri wrote:

I'm interested in the example of the loss of a photo album as representing a loss of memory (with the corollary "freeing up" of space). This metaphor for memory constructs human memory in the image of the machine (not as a co-mingled symborgian phenomenon). It assumes that memory is "stored" spatially, independent of the body, according to a system that defines "locations" in memory as discrete and rational. Other metaphors abound...say, the Freudian metaphor that constructs human memory in mechanistic terms such that as matter/energy is never lost or gained - only transformed - so is memory (e.g. the notion of repressed memory).

The loss of the photo album represents the loss of a certain kind of record, but memory isn't contained within the photo album, it's a truly "symborgian" phenomenon that merges body and technology indistinguishably. No body, no memory. The cultural construction of the notion of memory is indelibly marked by the technology of photography, whether the photograph remains or not, and so there is no "freeing up" with the loss, just an altered state of the "symborgian" relationship.

I would locate the moment of loss at the moment of arrival of the new technology (or it's first expression as desire). We lose a certain kind of memory, and gain a transformed one, with the appearance of every memory storage technology, from oral epic poetry to silicon chips. Our notions of memory are always culturally constructed, and what we call memory in this historical/cultural moment would likely be unrecognizable as such to other cultures and times. I'm absolutely fascinated by this's explored and articulated beautifully in a book by Mary Carruthers titled, "The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture" (the book draws heavily from and extends Frances Yates, "The Art of Memory"). I would so welcome any further recommendations for reading on this subject. The inextricable relationship of memory, culture and technology is absolutely fascinating to me and, in the context of this forum and my current practice, leads me to wonder about the ways in which GIS technologies reflect our cultural understanding of the relationship between landscape and memory.

In closing, I want to thank Brett Stalbaum, Melinda Rackham, and Christina McPhee - and all those who participated in this dialogue (either through active posting or spectator reading). The cultural implications and applications of GIS is a relatively new area of scholarship and creative practice and the terrain is mostly un-mapped. I appreciate the space for dialogue and the risk taken in trying to give shape to this field of intersections between media, popular culture, art, technology and even war. As is probably clear from the print bias of my postings, it's been a great challenge for me to articulate these connections in semi-real-time, even after years of thought and attention to the cultural implications of GIS technology. I appreciate the generosity and patience of all who participated.

Thank you,

teri wrote:
 everything returns to the interaction of tools and consciousness...

It's true that we have an altered experience of landscape for the new
technologies, increasingly portable and ubiquitous, that mediate our
navigations, merging data, landscape and the body in evermore
transforming cyborgian mutations....

yes i agree.. however i think that perhas that cyborg is not the most
appropriate term to apply to this now.. perhaps "symborg" is better.. ( i
think garry zebbington created this term from this work in the late 90's and
i sort of appropriated it afterwards- tho maye it came form somewhere else
as well)
as the cyborg was sort of a fusing of technology and flesh..a sort of
butting bits together.. where as the symborg is more a mutation or
co-evolution with technology .. which is why chris's remote viewers post is
years of Us and Soviet research showed that we have the ability to
visualise GIS data without the hard techonologial mediation.. we can see an
dknow other locations on the planet without going there or recieving any
data data about them - thats pretty amazing.. and as you were saying about
songlines..we can have the memory of , the information of a whole race and
culture in songs and environmental storage.. without extrenal storage
devices like books or memory sticks.. so its about us externalising what we
already have the capacity to s making evolutionary partners of bits
of technology.. we amputate some of ourselves if we loose our photo album ,
or wipe out hardrive.. so its freeing up internal body/brain processing
space..but whats it freeing it up for?

re mobiles:
yes im just looking for new phone.. some great toy options.. im not sure why
i need a fm radio, video camera and voice recording , wap, gprs, blutooth
infared, 300 polyphonic ring tones etc etc .. but im sure it will enhance
my communication experience some how.. phones are mostly used in .au for
txt messageing caus [e its cheaper so the visual ie..text aleady eclipes
aural without the addiction of pic or video messageing..

then again maybe we need that free space cause the "hot" mobile radiation
will fry other bits of the brain..corrupting thier storage retrieval


The various mentions of South American (Incan, I believe) knots and
corporeal systems of navigation lead me to consider what is being
lost (as well as gained) as we become increasingly enmeshed with GIS
technologies. There is no (pre-GPS navigation) followed by (pre-GPS
navigation) + (GPS). The change is ecological, of course, as in Neil
Postman's analysis. The entire cultural landscape and consciousness
is effected by the emergence and proliferation of GIS technologies
such that a prior state can no longer be accessed or imagined without

I think of Australian aboriginal songlines, a practice that continues
to capture my imagination as it relates to sound installation,
narrative, issues of orality/literacy and ocular-centrism. The
practice of songlines or walkabout represents a complex interaction
of landscape, body and narrative in the interests of sacred/mundane
ritual, history, travel and survival (and surely more, though as an
outsider I can only imagine).

The interesting contrast of this practice with Western navigation and
attendant technologies is that it is an entirely corporeally-based
knowledge (literally embodied). In wholly oral cultures there is no
written record that extends beyond the author's place and time - only
the record which is passed down through oral tradition. The oral
mind is nearly impossible for us to experience as our culture and
consciousness is so deeply steeped in literate modes and secondary
orality (a moment which emerges from and is only made possible by the
tools and forms of literate culture). Apologies if all I needed to
say were the names Walter Ong and Marshall McLuhan.

Visualizations of songlines are not maps in the sense that we know
them. In fact, the visualization of songlines as dreamings, painted
on canvas, tee-shirts and coasters is mostly a product of tourism as
these images were traditionally scratched in the sand and left to the
wind. Songlines are stories that unfold from memory as they are
released through walking/singing. They are passed down through oral
tradition and invoked through song. In an interesting inversion,
they represent sonic records (typically assumed to be highly
fugitive, though songlines have survived for thousands of years) that
> are believed to preserve what the Western mind views as the most
 lasting external record, the landscape itself.

 Our Western understanding of space and navigation is inextricably
 linked to visualizations in the form of maps and signage - now
 increasingly generated and read via database.  I wonder what changes
 are occurring in our consciousness as our sense of space is
 increasingly mediated and punctuated by mobile technologies -
 especially cell phones and portable stereos which are aural-, not
 ocular-centric.  The implications of such ubiquitous technologies as
 they merge landscape and data are fascinating to me.

 Yesterday, a young woman showed me her new Nokia phone, popularized
 by it's appearance on American Idol, that contains a 2 x 2 inch
 screen which allows her to capture and send still images and video.
 Sadly, the visual insists on eclipsing the aural again, but the
 implications are nonetheless compelling, especially as such devices
 suggest an experience of landscape as visually and aurally annotated

>especially easy for me to do for some reason. But on the other hand, we
>are already well into an era when the ability to process data into
>information, (or dynamically access information at a distance), can be
>carried by the civilian population in our pockets. (The military and
>industry have had this capability for some time.) This is forging a
>compelling connection between our ancient human ability to navigate by
>landmarks, dead reckoning, and tactics/tactility that lie under foot,
>a complex of data processing that emerges in a more embedded way with the
>world and that changes our experience of both data and world, and
>potentially our knowledge of data and place, in a transformative manner.
>(What if the Spanish Armada and the English Fleet had GPS and weather
>satellites in 1588? We now know how ultimately unimportant the sandstorms
>that occurred during Gulf War 2.0 turned out to be, even though they were
>perhaps the most potent force the "coalition of the willing" faced.)
>While this new complex certainly includes the image, I view it as only
>of many possible waypoints in processing, and interaction with the body.
>Data, and processing, are now active participants with us in the
>landscape, having a great deal to tell those who develop ways of
>to it. I think there is a lot of room at this time for artists to explore
>the various ways of listening (or seeing, feeling, acting...), because we
>too have a stake in how the world is heard. That is where we are, I
>On Tue, 22 Apr 2003, Jordan Crandall wrote:
>> I am not sure if I got bumped off the list or if things have settled
>> This discussion is fascinating and I've been wanting to jump in and I
>> it's not too late. I've been thinking about the way that CNN has
>> the weather during the war, and also that animated EarthViewer
>> imagery that swoops us in from space (in the context of Teri's
>> of the casting of the viewer as pilot) . We gleefully fly over Iraq as
if on
>> a ride, as the weatherpeople sweep their arms about to the tune of
>> flyovers, orchestrating the animations like conductors. Where are 'we'
>> supposed to be in these visions of mastery. It is as if by having ever
> > sophisticated modes of visualization from the air we can somehow
>> what happens on the ground; or that since 'precision guiding' works in
>> of missiles it would somehow work in terms of mappings .
>> penetrate into the earth as we try to push more deeply into/through
>> image itself. What resists ? How incredible those sandstorms were
>> shrouded the landscape in an orange haze and reduced vision to arm's
>> I have also been thinking a lot of Brett's description of the CNN feed
>> the gas pump. How perfect to get the flow of oil, network,
>> and wind all in one place along with the struggles for their control .
> >>
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