Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Locative technologies and everyday urban life

Classes are almost done, and I've way too much to do, but I'm excited about heading to New Haven on Thursday to talk about technology, space and culture for the Contemporary Architectural Discourse Colloquium at Yale School of Architecture.

I posted my abstract earlier, but here it is again, along with select references:


Location-aware technologies such as GPS and RFID are increasingly being used for a variety of European and North American urban spatial-annotation projects. These desires to “tag” the world-around-us, I argue, can be understood as particular intensifications and materialisations of Western political longings for unified community in times of fragmentation and diversity. But what senses of belonging are we presupposing when we attempt to bind collective memories to singular places? And what kind of community is possible when the technologies and protocols that underpin such projects may be understood, following Mackenzie, as 'kludge' or an 'ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole'? Borrowing concepts from Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy and Marc Augé, I explore tensions between mobility and dwelling, difference and commonality, memory and forgetting. Accordingly, questions concerning political and ethical participation, and the role of affective encounters such as alignments, identifications and appropriations take on special force. Ultimately, it is my position that any kind of technologically-enabled communalism or collective memory that privileges unity and order threatens to undermine the senses of contingency and potentiality necessary for a politics of hope in everyday urban life.

REFERENCES pdfs available for a limited time

Andermatt Conley, Verena. 2002. "Chaosmopolis". Theory, Culture & Society 19(1–2): 127–138.

Bowden, Brett. 2003. "The Perils of Global Citizenship". Citizenship Studies 7(3): 349-362.

Diken, Bülent and Carsten Bagge Laustsen. 2002. "Zones of Indistinction: Security, Terror, and Bare Life". Space and Culture 5(3): 290-307.

Hand, Martin and Barry Sandywell. 2002. "E-topia as Cosmopolis or Citadel: On the Democratizing and De-democratizing Logics of the Internet, or, Toward a Critique of the New Technological Fetishism". Theory, Culture & Society 19(1–2): 197–225.

Lozanovska, Mirjana. 2002. "Architectural Frontier/Spatial Story: The Problematic of Representing the Everyday". Space and Culture 5(2): 140-151.

I'm really looking forward to some good discussion, and will post my draft paper when I get back.


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