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Title: Moving bodies in the inhabitable map : the GPS trace in New Media Art
Author: MacDonald, Gavin Eion
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 853X
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2012
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Geographers and social scientists have argued that geospatial technologies are contributing to new understandings of space as relational and of cartography as processual, performative and embodied rather than representational. These new understandings are developing through practices as well as in academic debate, in a widely acknowledged proliferation of vernacular, activist and artistic mappings. There is a fundamental tension in the fact that these new understandings of space and cartography are being facilitated by a technology underpinned by an absolute understanding of space. This thesis investigates the use of GPS by artists, and the role art has in producing these new spatial understandings. It looks at the work of four practitioners (Esther Polak, Jen Southern, Christian Nold and Daniel Belasco Rogers) who have made a significant engagement with the mapped trace of movement, through detailed biographical case studies which track their involvement with GPS across different projects over the last decade. The case study subjects have all been associated with the locative media genre, a label for new media art practices involving mobile and context-aware devices which emerged in the early part of the last decade. The mapped trace of movement has been identified as an inadequate capture of spatial practices. This position – most influentially articulated by Michel de Certeau – is associated with a tradition of thought that privileges time as the dimension of dynamism and denigrates space as the dimension of stasis and fixity. This denigrated space is the absolute space of cartography as it has been traditionally understood. This thesis uses the art practices of the four case study subjects to explore different relational understandings of space in which movement is primary, taken from the work of Gilles Deleuze (and Felix Guattari), Tim Ingold, Bruno Latour and Nigel Thrift. By looking at the different ways in which my case study subjects have addressed or exploited the tension between the absolute spatiality of cartography and the relational spatiality of movement in their art, it seeks to find a way past seeing these different conceptions of space in such starkly oppositional terms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available