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January 27, 2006

Anne Galloway


On Spatial Annotation

I'm really looking forward to being a guest lecturer in the Contemporary Architecture Discourse Colloquium at Yale School of Architecture on March 31st. This is what I'll be talking about:


Location-aware technologies such as GPS and RFID are increasingly being used for a variety of European and North American urban spatial-annotation projects. These desires to “tag” the world-around-us, I argue, can be understood as particular intensifications and materialisations of Western political longings for unified community in times of fragmentation and diversity. But what senses of belonging are we presupposing when we attempt to bind collective memories to singular places? And what kind of community is possible when the technologies and protocols that underpin such projects may be understood, following Mackenzie, as “kludge” or an “ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole”? Borrowing concepts from Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy and Marc Augé, I explore tensions between mobility and dwelling, difference and commonality, memory and forgetting. Accordingly, questions concerning political and ethical participation, and the role of affective encounters such as alignments, identifications and appropriations take on special force. Ultimately, it is my position that any kind of technologically-enabled communalism or collective memory that privileges unity and order threatens to undermine the senses of contingency and potentiality necessary for a politics of hope in everyday urban life.

And on a related note, NY Times: Making Connections, Here and Now

"These [mobile social software] programs are in their infancy, now being used mainly by technology aficionados, but their potential is vast. In the future, users may subscribe to the mobile posts of bloggers who review neighborhood lunch spots or to business travelers who share city-specific survival tips."

Vast potential, eh? My god, we're dull.

I continue to be impressed that projects like Urban Tapestries led to projects like Social Tapestries, while Dodgeball was "acquired" by Google. [blogged by Anne on Purse Lips Square Jaw]

Posted by jo at January 27, 2006 02:56 PM