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Title: Cartographic abstraction : mapping practices in contemporary art
Author: Reddleman, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 5989 3042
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis proposes a theory of cartographic abstraction as a framework for investigating cartographic viewing, and does so through engaging with a series of contemporary artworks concerned with cartographic ‘ways of seeing’ (Berger 1972). Cartographic abstraction is a material modality of thought and experience that is produced through cartographic techniques of depiction. It is the more-than-visual register that posits and produces the ‘cartographic world’, or what John Pickles has called the ‘geo-coded world’ (2006). By this I mean the naturalized apprehension of the earth as a homogeneous space that is naturally, even necessarily, understood as regular, consistent and objective. I argue for identifying cartographic techniques of depiction as themselves abstract, and cartographic abstraction as such as the modality of thought and experience that these techniques produce. Abstraction within capitalism comes to be socially real and material, taking place outside thought. I propose a series of viewpoints, that are posited by the relations of viewing enacted by the selected artworks themselves. I analyse these viewpoints in relation to modes of cartographic viewing offered by theorists. Through close readings of cartographic artworks, I expand the current possibilities for understanding cartographic abstraction and its effects, through proposing a range of viewpoints that are both deployed in, and themselves problematize, cartographic viewing. I connect cartographic abstraction to debates about abstraction in Marxist and materialist approaches to philosophy, arguing for interpreting cartographic viewing as an abstract practice through which subjects are positioned and structured in relation to the ‘viewed’. This study discerns ‘real abstraction’ functioning in a particular area of ‘the operations of capitalism’; that is, modes of visual, and epistemological, abstraction that we can identify by exploring artworks concerned with cartographic depiction and conceptualisation. This approach to abstraction explores how cartographic knowledge can be theorized through recognising cartographic abstraction as a material modality of thought and experience.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available