maps are just nude pictures of reality

18:07 | 16-07-2013 | Culturology, Geography, Google, Politics, Software | No Comments

или, например, снова географические карты — что это такое?

I’ve seen maps that I find completely terrifying. Maps of uranium mining and of various illnesses in the Navajo reservations—they’re just insane. They just make you furious. Bill Bunge’s map [above] — which I still think is one of the great maps, the map of where white commuters in Detroit [ran over] black children while going home from work—that’s a terrifying map, and that’s an amazing map.

как они меняют нас?

It’s there, for example, in the way Google Maps redraws the city in relation to its own way of seeing. Maps, as we know, are a form of information that not only shows us the terrain in question but also reveals the concerns of its author. Maps are not neutral windows onto the world: they colour, frame and distort the world they describe.


As Slate magazine’s Evgeny Morozov explains, Google’s business model of targeted advertising is soon to merge with its description of the physical fabric of the city. Using the data that Google already knows about you through your email, your searches and so on, it will generate personalised maps of the city. As Morozov writes, “Space, for Google, is just one more type of information that ought to be organised.” And monetised too, we can add. The city, through the map, is remade according to the data held by Google, and according to Google’s idea of what a city is and what it thinks you will do there.

или как другие меняют их для нас?

Imagine how the experience of Google Glass might alter your experience of the city as it overlays information onto your view, with the city literally becoming framed by Google. This Googleopic way of seeing transforms space and the urban environment through how and what it reveals and excludes. Its ways of seeing, as John Berger’s 1970s book of that title explored, contain hidden ideologies in its visual depiction of landscape. What’s relevant here is the way an ideology is made invisible through the manufacturing of images. Increasingly, this frame is used not only to show the world, but to make the world. The map and the territory, in other words, converge.

можно было бы подумать, что карты — это только снимки реальности. но что это за реальность? кто ее автор?


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