8 September 2012

Article: Valérie November, Eduardo Camacho-Hübner and Bruno Latour, "Entering a Risky Territory: Space in the Age of Digital Navigation"

Valérie November, Eduardo Camacho-Hübner and Bruno Latour argue for mapping reefs and risks in this call for a redefinition of cartographical interactions, "Entering a Risky Territory: Space in the Age of Digital Navigation", published in volume 28 of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (2010) and now available online for free download.

Written almost as both rationale and prelude to work by the three authors on the mapping of risk, November, Camacho-Hübner and Latour here contend that the advent of accessible, interactive and user-defined digital mapping practices has the capacity to free us from a modernist, "mimetic" mapping impulse towards a more contingent, navigational interpretation. They argue that mimetic mapping, which relies on a spurious resemblance between representational map signs and a "real", outside territory, entrenches space and territory as part of a fixed and objective reality. Navigational practices, on the other hand, casts maps as "the dashboards of a calculation interface" for a succession of signposts via which movement can be negotiated. A shift towards navigational interpretation deeply implicates not only a freedom from "the tyranny of space" but also the inclusion of a whole set of "subjective" factors recognised in risk geography within practices of mapping.
"As soon as we shift to the navigational interpretation of geographical techniques, we realize that there is nothing especially spatial about geography. Any map is simply one set of inscriptions leading to and coming from another series of dissimilar signposts to help navigators find their way through their trajectories."
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space has recently included this work by November, Camacho-Hübner and Latour within a group of various "highlight" articles for open access availability. The articles, including, inter alia, a translated section of Michel Serres' Les origines de la géométrie, Graham Harman's "I am also of the opinion that materialism must be destroyed" and Michael Brown and Claire Rasmussen's "Bestiality and the Queering of the Human Animal", are accessible to nonsubscribers in order to provide an idea of the kinds of papers published in the journal.

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