Viewing the Earth from Without or from Within

June 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

“Viewing the Earth from Without or from Within” with Nina Edwards Anker, New Geographies 4 (2011), 89-94.

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The first Apollo images of the Earth have produced a perspective enabling humanity to act on Earth and its nature as if it controlled it from “outside.” The recent developments of satellite technologies have had a significant impact on the modes of representations as well as the conceptions of geography and space. Today, the visualization modes of geospatial information, which offer layering, zooming and panning navigation tools that capture world landscapes through vertical perspectives, reinforce the concept of the Earth as an “object.” Furthermore, the integration and superimposition of geographical information strengthen the Universalist ideal of knowledge while reducing it to a scientific and abstract visual database. This new “geography from above” -the home, the city, entire territories, the Earth itself, the Monn, Mars and beyond- redefine our environment, subjectivities and practises. With such tools at hand, architects conceive of the geographic as a possible scale, site of intervention and design approach.

The scale of vision, viewpoint and qualification of space made possible by satellite imagery reframe contemporary debates on design, agency and territory. In volume 4 of New Geographies, we invite sumissions of articles and projects that critically address the relationship of space with such modes of representation. What are the characteristics of such an integrated elevated vision and what geographical knowledge does it bring forth? In this data-space, which information is to be retained as relevant? How is such an analytical space to be subsequently interpreted and experienced? What are the cultural, political and environmental repercussions of a vision celebrated as objective and Universalist? what new global issues and debates do such scales of vision raise and how do such visualizations of the Earth-as-home intesect with concerns of ecology and calls for global awarness?

Entry filed under: Articles, Of Interest, Publications. Tags: .

Plant Community Modeling the Earth from Outer Space

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