Variant issue 21    back to issue list

Next on the Left, or: 'What good is a map if you know the way?'
Tim Stott

For the French curator, critic and art theorist Nicolas Bourriaud geography/cartography is now the most appropriate means of exploring the networks, boundaries and socio-economic formations that constitute and circumscribe human relations1. The complexities of the contemporary world - of financial markets, information networks, social relations, etc. - are 'unfigurable' and opaque, and thus no longer representable2; but they can be surveyed and mapped. Accordingly, contemporary art can be described as an 'offshore zone' that attempts both to maintain a distance from, and venture into social realities by shifting the scale of its attention: its critical 'eye' is not panoramic, but varifocal. Representations no longer correspond to reality as it is lived, nor can they be superimposed upon it: hence, cartography becomes a spatial activity - to be lived through. In short, it is no longer a matter of describing a surface (such as the surface of the globe), but of reconstructing a scene.
Because of the 'connectionist ideology' and 'reticular imagination' that govern contemporary life, and the tendency towards near-instantaneous communications and ever more rapid transportations, accessibility and making connections now has more to do with virtual than spatial proximity3. Where social relations and encounters have become obscured by their 'spectacular' representation, they can be given form and developed through the 'topocritical' artwork, which serves as a framework within which to enact models of living.
Topocritical art aims to "encourage a 'democracy of viewpoints', a polyculture of the imagination [in opposition to] the monoculture of information"4. To do this, it must make 'archaeological excavations inside the knowledge, objects and spaces that determine our reality'5 because within the present administered society there remain terrae incognitae of living, human spaces that stand against the statistical transformation of the mass in mercantile civilisation. When investigated and reconstructed in the relational artwork, the products of this research are 're-humanised', so to speak.
In order to test Bourriaud's claims, we must make a brief excursion into the history of Western European cartographic practice. So, I shall begin with a seemingly unrelated question: Why would the highest mountain in the world be named after one man, whose origins lay thousands of miles away, and who had never in his life set eyes upon the 'great snowy mass' of Mt Everest? To answer this question fully would require an extensive study of the activities of the British Trigonometrical Survey in the Indian subcontinent6. As such historical research is beyond the scope and intention of this essay, I mean to answer the question obliquely, through a consideration of cartography as an instrument of knowledge-as-power, and as an extension of the panoptic, acquisitive eye/I, or a prosthesis to the 'body of law'.

Cartography and/as power
Broadly speaking, a map is used to clarify the topographical and geographical complexities of a particular area in order to assist navigation across or within it. In this sense, both the map as a depiction and the cartographic activity that supports it are dynamically linked to the designs (in both senses of the word) and purposes of those who make them. Infused with socio-economic and cultural values, maps play a discursive and rhetorical role; they are "a class of rhetorical images and are bound by rules which govern their codes and modes of social production, exchange, and use just as surely as any other discursive form"7. Cartography then is intimately linked to practices of acquiring geographical and topographical knowledge, but it also reflects that accumulated knowledge back upon the object of its study, and enables those who have access to such knowledge to employ it strategically and to affect this geography according to their own interests. The aptitude for cartography to do this might be better understood when knowledge is analysed in terms of spatial metaphor. A spatial/strategic analysis "enables one to grasp precisely the points at which discourses are transformed in, through and on the basis of relations of power"8. As a 'territory', knowledge inscribes itself upon the surface of the earth through the patterns and systems that cross and sustain it; as discourse it is administered and politicised. In both it is strategic and combative.
If knowledge-as-power has a spatial dimension then it can clearly be seen that the surveyor of the landscape does not merely replicate an environment but, in doing so, reproduces the territorial dictates of particular political interests: surveying would be an act of 'surveillance'9, somewhat disguised by the doxa that treats accurate measurement as an end in itself10. Thus, to map a geographical area is to assert sovereignty over it (to claim to represent it, pictorially and politically), and to divide the space 'contained' therein "in terms of territorial control and political authority"11, so that the map speaks a rhetoric which asserts and communicates proprietal and territorial rights.
The primary spatial form of power is territoriality12. However, the places, areas, and regions identified by mapping are not territories per se, but become so only when the boundaries and divisions that they describe become authoritative, and are used to influence or control the movements in that area, and across its borders. Boundaries, and the maps that articulate and 'authenticate' them, communicate possession, and the control of either already extant boundaries or the means of putting them in place confers a certain control of access to the area that the boundary circumscribes. Territoriality is a relationship (across what is controlled by being contained, and between that and what is thereby excluded), and therefore it is not absolute but differential, occurring as part of a complex hierarchical organisation: moreover, because it is relational and not directly spatial, it can have influence over and through space, and in this way it is a form of action over distance. The map, as a representation of territoriality, enables this distribution of influence; it is something of a 'prosthetic eye'.
When power is inscribed upon the land it becomes reified, and it makes the relationships of power and influence tangible by making them visible. But when power is made visible in such a way, it also becomes 'natural'. A 'body of law' may be taken for granted when its pattern is displaced from the relationship of control to the territory that carries it; when it becomes, quite literally, 'the law of the land'.
The interests of capital continue to benefit from the obfuscatory and classificational aspects of territoriality. Capital needs to see space as a framework "in which events are contingently and temporally located"13; and because capital requires constant accumulation and growth, relations between spaces and things must remain fluid. The strategies of territoriality enable spaces to be defined and designated 'vacant' in such a way that they become available to capital (the phenomenon of 'squatting' illustrates this point clearly). Unwittingly or not, cartographic practices support a discourse of power, ideology and surveillance, and they act as instruments of territorialisation: "They create a knowledge space within which certain kinds of understandings and of knowing subjects, material objects and their relations in space and time are authorised and legitimated"14.
An eye that surveys and maps the landscape consists of many eyes that work as one: this eye is supposedly neutral and without desire - disincarnated and ascendant. It can be traced back to St Augustine's denunciation of the vicissitudes of concupiscentia ocularum15, yet which turns its 'invisible eyes'16, not to God, but is held instead by the 'divine light' of scientific rationality. We now begin to see how appropriate it is that the imperial heights of the 'great snowy mass' should be synonymous with the elevated eye/I that once attempted, in the name of science, technology and progress, to survey, and hence colonise, all of India from atop the 'apex' of its practice of measurement, triangulation.

The 'walker' and the 'voyeur'
The 'panoptic' eye of cartography in the service of empire is de-personalised, a detached vision in the service of a mobile, surveying consciousness. It is the eye of Icarus, or the 'voyeur-god':
His elevation transforms him into a voyeur. It puts him at a distance. It transforms the bewitching world by which one was "possessed" into a text that lies before one's eyes. It allows one to read it, to be a solar Eye, looking down like a god. The exaltation of a scopic and Gnostic drive: the fiction of knowledge is related to this lust to be a viewpoint and nothing more17.
Laid out below, the world becomes a readable picture, a 'human text' - a fiction only available in theory. The 'voyeur-god' - the "space planner, urbanist, city planner or cartographer"18 - can know, in the rarefied air of his/her alienation, only a world devoid of breath. Unsituated and displaced, the omniscient view of the voyeur is seen from nowhere: its 'space' is impossible to occupy, being that of a timeless present - it is 'utopic'19. Its putative description of a space supposes all to be visually present before the eye/I, and thus comprehensible, but in order to make this description it must construct an abstract and homogeneous space, free of contradiction, division and radical difference. But such a 'description' cannot be ideologically neutral; the objects that it presupposes to be available to description (such as the demarcation of urban 'territories') are hypostatised and isolated from their histories, or perhaps given more 'appropriate' ones.
As an instance of the 'microphysics of power', the imposition of rational order upon space is "the minuscule and ubiquitously reproduced move of 'gridding' (quadriller) a visible space in such a way as to make its occupants available for observation and 'information'."20 However, society does not only function according to its dominant types of procedures (those that have become discourse)21; there are other practices that remain minor. Beneath the "monotheistic" dominance of "panoptic apparatuses" (Foucault) there survives a "polytheism" of divergent and fragmented practices22: and it is through these 'minor' practices that power functions, and is contested. If, as Foucault claims, the determining apparatuses of society are obscure, then when one practice begins to dominate others it will become prominently visible, and it's previously 'silent' functioning will be diminished. This visibility compromises the efficacy of the now dominant practice, and allows it to become 'vampirised' by other practices: in short, as a practice becomes more dominant, it becomes more vulnerable23. This shows that the dominance of one practice can never be total, just as the patterns of consumption that capital develops in order to reproduce itself can never be exhaustive or final. 'Between the lines' of power, other, under-privileged patterns might be operational in society as 'tactical' (rather than 'strategic') practices of consumption24. This is where Michel de Certeau talks of the 'walker', in contrast to the 'voyeur'. The 'walker' knows space bodily, not visually, and moves through the city by following and inscribing a 'text' of which he/she is not the author, and which he/she cannot read. The strangeness (the terrae incognitae) of the everyday eludes representation: it disrupts and obscures the clear, ascetic sight of the 'voyeur'.
This being said, the space of the 'walker' does not escape the exercise of power within it: in its actions, the 'walker' is a subject of (state) power and ideology. This is best explained by a brief examination of the Baroque character of the 'walker's' space. Visual culture of the Baroque period is very much at odds with the hegemonic abstract space of the 'voyeur-god'25. The Baroque had a fascination with opacity, ambiguity, indecipherability and the (melancholy) desire to represent the unrepresentable. It refused an ascendant, panoramic vision, and accommodated itself instead to the distorting and overwhelming excess of appearances found in the burgeoning urban environment: a "madness of vision"26, if you like.
In seventeenth century Spain, the Baroque was a time when a multiplicity of individual viewpoints were being asserted, giving rise to social instability. This constituted a threat to the hegemonic aspirations of the then absolutist monarchy, but rather than respond with violent repression of disruptive social forces, the monarchist state established a 'culture of guidance'. This was a reactionary culture that sought to 'correct' the erosion of extant social hierarchies by mediating and directing the agency of the masses27.
'Guidance' was most effective where the state's propaganda had the largest audience. In seventeenth century Spain, this was the theatre. As a theatre audience, the agency of the mass would be guided through the narrative of the play by the interrelated mechanisms of 'suspense' and 'wonder'. Significantly, the 'wonder' felt at the end of the play when the plot reveals itself establishes a retrospective narrative causality. This is also the moment when the audience, having been lost, or 'suspended' in the plot, finds itself anew. In effect, a speciously 'changed' subject is introduced to a pre-configured social space. The interest for the state in this performance of change and development that does not actually affect the underlying structure hardly needs reiterating. State-organised performances offered catharsis for the "moment of unease"28 inherent to the daily urban experience of the masses, which might otherwise spill over into acts of sedition.
If the Baroque can be characterised as a time when St Augustine's concupiscentia ocularum held sway, then we might say that the 'ecstatic' and volatile body of the masses was seduced and placated by the corpus iuris (the 'body of law') when it recognised itself within a preconfigured narrative. Most importantly, this guidance is not simply imposed 'from outside' on subjects that are 'already there', so to speak. Inasmuch as the state mediates the agency of the subject, it also predisposes that subject towards a particular course of action before it can be thought of as the effect of a subject, so that every action on the part of a subject is always-already a reaction to the state. We cannot conceive of one without the other29. The significance of this bind between subject and state will become clear in the discussion of Pierre Joseph's map-making below, but for now, suffice to say there are critical deficiencies at both extensions of the topocritical cartographers 'varifocal' length (those of the 'voyeur' and 'walker').

Mapping narratives / walking in the city
The 'walker' traces a trajectory rather than plots a point or connects graticular coordinates. The French artist Pierre Joseph's 'memory maps' of Japan and the Paris métro trace an accumulation of trajectories through time, which are remembered in the practice of map-making. For Joseph, maps are the "the world lost and the world found"30, a way of 'realising' the world and forming a plan (in both senses of the word). His journeys compare to the 'spiritual itineraries' of Matthew Paris, which allow "human interpretation to enter into the cartographic text" - "exegetical maps [that] treat nature negatively as a space of discontinuity between sites of civilisation"31. In these, the natural world becomes a 'non-space', open to human imagination. Matthew Paris' maps might be better described as historia rather than 'geographies': they are not maps to be followed literally, but, in common with contemporary mappaemundi of the thirteenth century, they are an aid to "self-distancing from the world in preparation for the contemplative ascent"32 and ultimately to the contemplation of the spiritual unity to be found in God's plan, beyond the vicissitudes of history and geography. These 'itineraries' engage the viewer's interpretative faculties in a way that the naturalised framework of instrumental rationality (gridding, plotting points, marking definite boundaries, etc) never can: they are discursive and open to historical exegesis. Interpretation enters by way of the 'empty sign' of the parallel lines that connect the 'sites of civilisation', showing the natural world beyond as unread and unwritten - a 'non-space', or gap - known in total only by God, and knowable in part only by the spiritually enlightened traveller of the imagination. Being wholly dependent upon the contingencies of viewing and reading, these 'itineraries' "literally reverse modern habits of map reading: instead of moving from the map to an objective world, we move from the map to a deeper textuality"33. The natural world is personalised, established through reading, interpretation, and presumably dialogue as to its nature and extension. Similarly, Joseph's maps personalise the environment of the 'traveller' through the function of subjective interpretation, whilst recognising the necessary deficiencies of such an account. Knowledge of this totality 'beyond' is accessible only to one who is omnipotent and to whose (master) plan the 'walker' must remain subordinate: in Paris's case this is, of course, God; in Joseph's it seems to be capital.
For Joseph, maps make the world familiar again, allowing one to chart a 'possible itinerary'. They correspond to the reality of one's surroundings in such an assuring way that it is enough just to have a map in one's pocket and not consult it. To follow a map is to place oneself under a benign authority; to follow a strategy dictated by a world already "thought out by others", that then allows for play within it:
In a way, you place yourself under a guardianship and you start with the principle that the world has already been thought out by others and that you can play around with that capital.34
In creating his own maps, constructed without prior consultation of other maps of the area, Joseph claims to re-place his own 'murky' experience of an area in the structure of the conventional cartographic plan: to produce a perfect 'replication' of the area would be to make himself 'invisible' - his personalised versions aim to show his resistance within an urban milieu. To do this he must make the imaginative leap of thinking the world no longer there, that there is a world to be retraced - "[the] posture of a fake pioneer" - eventually rediscovering himself in the singular experience of personal map-making.
Whilst this practice might be welcomed in response to the 'neutral' and reified 'descriptions' of cartographic survey, asserting instead the contingencies and vicissitudes of personal urban experience, and the activity of mapping that considers space not in absolute but in relational terms, still, it naturalises the political and ideological forces that bear upon this experience. Following the notion of 'cultural guidance' mentioned above, we can see how rediscovering oneself thus - recognising oneself in 'a world thought out by others' - might be to re-introduce oneself as subject, according to the retrospectively causal narrative that preconfigures social space. Inasmuch as the subject imagines itself autonomous, and the sum of his/her experiences as irreducible to the discourse of ideology, "this imaginary distance towards ideological identification is the very sign of its success"35. In short, although Joseph returns a necessary, active subjectivity to cartographic practices, he neither adequately investigates the complexity of contexts and goals that constitute this subjectivity, nor draws out the specific politics of that constitution.
Undoubtedly, there is a need for a 'cognitive mapping' (such as Joseph makes) to represent the urban networks of 'late capitalism'36 - those spaces of immediacy, perceptual saturation and discontinuity - so as to forestall the alienation of the urban citizen from their environment. The identity of the subject is, in part, determined by its position in space and its relation to other 'bodies': there is a "cartographic consciousness"37 that defies easy representation, and therefore demands a broadened stock of representative means. The significance of research into cognitive mapping - how the subject visualises their environment in map-like form so as to be able to orient his/herself - is to be found in the relation between these visualisations and behaviour, and to what extent this behaviour distorts, or is distorted by, the substantial environment38. In particular, this cognitive mapping might disclose those patterns by which a subject is addressed in its environment: disclosing either how a subject is 'guided' in its behaviour (see Maravall above), or conversely, those points of convergence between subjects that might establish some form of collective visualisation. Following this train of thought, we might now look at the Situationist maps that Guy Debord based upon the tactic of the dérive, to which Joseph's work has some affinity.
Debord's The Naked City (1957), as a 'map' of the dérive, is said to bring out those differences that are suppressed by the abstract and homogeneous 'descriptions' of the 'voyeur', by fragmenting and re-connecting the Plan de Paris. In the dérive, the city is experienced as a 'cluster' of events, never fully seen and always contingent39: there are spaces where experiences coalesce or 'resonate', so-called 'unities of atmosphere', between which an open narrative is traced by red arrows marking trajectories of 'impassioned attraction'. Space is shown to be 'inhabited', not as the contextual 'container' for social relations but as a product of the performance of inhabiting, and thereby space is incorporated into social practice. As a practice of 'inhabiting' space, the dérive was an attempt to contest the reification of lived experience as it becomes representation, and so contest the 'society of the spectacle'40: in other words, to re-entangle the detached eye/I in the densely opaque daily behaviours of urban experience41. It was also an attempt to transgress the (instrumentalist) territories and causal narratives inscribed upon social space, in order to reconstruct them in terms of libidinal and sensual pleasures: it was to unearth the 'sum of possibilities' for a new organisation of urban life that were hidden in the (reified) structure of the city42.
The function of Joseph's works as 'cognitive maps' is ultimately normative - they aim to attain a 'command' of a particular terrain and to determine its character; but in order to obtain a coherent position for the subject and for his/her view, they must sacrifice the contingency of subject positions and relations. The Naked City, however, resists that "regulative ideal" (of the cognitive map) when it becomes the site (not the scene) of a 'social geography' that lives out the discontinuities and divisions of the urban environment: "It openly acknowledges itself as the trace of practices of inhabiting rather than as the imaginary resolution of real contradictions"43. In contrast to Joseph's habit-forming wanderings, pyschogeographic cartography expresses a "complete insubordination to habitual influences"44.
The dérive is somewhat akin to the nineteenth-century practice of flânerie developed by Baudelaire. The persons active in both are out of place45, ambivalent towards the crowd that surrounds them: the former through affecting an aristocratic detachment, the latter through a suspension of class allegiance. However, the difference between them is in their attitude towards the "hegemonic scope of modernity"46: unlike the dériveur, the flâneur makes no criticism of the gendered and class-based "gaze of modernity which is both covetous and erotic"47. The flâneur maunders through the Parisian passages with a voyeuristic and aloof gaze, the city surrounding him as spectacle offering itself up to his discerning 'eye'. He considers the city to be immediately present (or 'thought out by others') to his aestheticising gaze, rather than under continuous social construction. In addition, according to his ambivalent situation as bohemian rebel and producer of commodities, he becomes
...the observer of the marketplace. His knowledge is akin to the occult science of industrial fluctuations. He is a spy for the capitalists, on assignment in the realm of consumers.
And further:
Empathy with the commodity is fundamentally empathy with exchange value itself. The flâneur is the virtuoso of this empathy. He takes the concept of marketability itself for a stroll. Just as his final ambit is the department store, his last incarnation is the sandwich-man.48
That is to say, by virtue of his bondage to them, the flâneur comes to embody the fluid commodity forms of the marketplace: as a producer of cultural commodities, he peddles ideological fashions - as a 'sandwich-man', he advertises for the state.
Considering the above, it seems that Joseph's 'wanderings' are closer to those of the flâneur than the dériveur. Perhaps a closer comparison could be made with the Surrealist street adventures of André Breton et al, wherein the city becomes a succession of impressions that leave their traces across the subjectivity of the walker. To experience the city in such a way is to formulate, describe and articulate a renewed subjectivity; it is to once again 'find one's way', to display oneself, in a re-familiarised environment, à la Joseph. As we have seen, the problem here is that to 'find one's way' seems to be to configure a subjectivity by following those 'paths' already inscribed upon the urban landscape by those who maintain, through the authority of their accumulated capital, the (self-proclaimed) capacity to structure it. Furthermore, it might be more a case of re-territorialising rather than de-territorialising (see above): i.e. a case of re-mapping the boundaries of power according to a more fluid rationale rather than subverting the authority of those boundaries and the spaces of power they delineate.
The dérive, however, is a way of walking that does not allow for autobiographical representation: it is a collective activity that attempts "an impersonal objectivity of impression" by affecting the "enunciatory and ambulatory disappearance of the walker"49. It follows desire into the labyrinth wherein it loses its way without any hope or desire to 'find' itself again in a description (a map) of an itinerary, or the retrospective composition of a coherent narrative. Where the Situationists attempt a living critique that would lead to "revolutions in individual everyday life"50, Joseph's pseudo-tourist itineraries offer nothing but a full recuperation of the status quo. The construction of situations, as a prelude to the ('artistic') reconstruction of life, was not to be a spectacular performance, nor was it made for visual consumption or publication. To paraphrase Vincent Kaufman (see note 50 above), the real game of reconfiguring the experience of the urban environment commences once it foregoes the possibility of describing or determining its actions; i.e. once it no longer makes the attempt at "absolute valorisation and preservation of the present moment" that is (modern) art51.
In conclusion, we will return to Bourriaud's original statements concerning the necessity of cartographic art practice. The representation of social encounters is, of course, necessary for numerous reasons, but when these representations become a substitute for encounters per se then something has been lost: cartography functions as an aid to knowledge of social relations, not as their replacement. In becoming 'art', the 'subversive plurality' of marginal groups, situations or experiences falls under the gaze of a contemplative subject, that reduces them to a play of 'relational forms'52, and offers no necessary connection between these forms and social forms of exchange53. Or, to put it another way: when Bourriaud describes contemporary art as a "social interstice ... a space in human relations which fits more or less harmoniously and openly into the overall system, but suggests other trading possibilities than those in effect within this system"54, he would do well to remember that art is also the commodity-form par excellence.
Although it claims to re-establish intersubjective relations, 'topocritical' art55 often succeeds only in reaffirming the privileged authority of the artist-subject (as can be witnessed by the exclusive cabal of artists, curators, critics, etc. that Bourriaud supports, and who sometimes seem to be the only ones having any kind of 'relation' to what they are doing). The very mobility and fluidity of some contemporary art and its practitioners ("the majority of artists today are globetrotters"56) only further embeds art practice within the ideology and circulation of capital. As a 'social interstice', art is limited in its critical abilities if its only terms of reference, or its only models, are those of the capitalist economy, which it considers to be 'second nature'. It is uncritically assumed that the privileges of 'globetrotting' artists, based upon the model of the mobile professional classes and correlative to the 'gentrification' of urban areas, are ubiquitous or universally representative: is it either a 'connectionist ideology' or 'reticular imagination' that governs contemporary life? Not necessarily. This way of life presupposes a level of material support that goes unacknowledged, or is assumed to be 'friction-free', by much allegedly critical art practice: 'hypermobility' is most often considered as a corollary to digital technology and telematics, and not another instance of the erosion of space by time that accords with the capitalist ideology of accumulation.
To claim that 'accessibility has more to do with virtual rather than spatial proximity' is to privilege "the fact of instantaneous global transmissions over the concentrations of built infrastructure that make transmission possible"57. That is to say, this mobility is wholly imbricated in fixed areas of production that have a spatial extension - a space where the local and the global engage. It is (usually) in the space of the city that the global 'comes down to earth' in the local, and thus, the city emerges as a strategic site for a "place-specific politics with a global span"58. Yet this strategic potential is obviated if the 'non-place' of a cartographic practice is established, as this would deny political engagement with the local in 'street-level' politics. Bourriaud says elsewhere that, "the model [of contemporary art] is not necessarily reduced in size but is quite capable of functioning on a scale of 1:1 [ ... ] Reality is imposed as the sole instance of legitimisation of artistic activity"59, but scale is not just a matter of size, it is also a matter of position and assumed distance - that distance which is a prerequisite of cartographic practice. This necessary distance of the contemplative eye leads us back toward that position of putative neutrality and coherence, which does not allow for the contestatory nature of the represented terrain, and rehearses the various conceits of naming mountains after men.

1 Bourriaud, N. 'Topocritic: contemporary art and geographic enquiry', in exhibition catalogue for GNS, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 5th June-7th September 2003, pp.9-40
2 Giving some putative physical description, or copy, of a territory cannot account for the speed, fluidity and ephemerality of contemporary means of transport, communication, and media technologies; "Physical description is to geography what anatomy is to sexuality. They no longer suffice to realise the complexities of their "domains"." (Marcadé. B. 'GNS: Leçon de Géo au Palais de Tokyo', Beaux Arts Magazine 230, July 2003, pp.68-73, p.72 - author's translation). See also, Bourriaud, 'Topocritic ... ' pp.18-21
3 The 'annihilation of space by time' is a necessary condition for economic growth and accumulation of capital: see, Harvey, D., Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography, (Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2001), Ch 12. That virtuality results from the logic of capital accumulation is something rarely addressed by Bourriaud, at least not explicitly or at any length, yet it would seem to compromise the critical aspects of 'relational', or 'topocritical' art, based as they are upon such a logic of temporal and mobile connections
4 Bourriaud, 'Topocritic', pp 32 and 37, respectively
5 Ibid, p.34
6 Its project - begun in 1806 and finally discontinued after the Great Rebellion of 1857 - was to map a 20' arc of the longitudinal meridian using basic trigonometry, advanced surveying equipment, and prodigiously complex mathematics, all to gain an unprecedented degree of cartographic accuracy. The 'hero' of this expedition was one Sir George Everest. A comprehensive historical account of this expedition is significant by its absence; the only offering being John Keay's The Great Arc: The Tale of how India was mapped and Everest was named, (HarperCollins, London, 2000), which reads more like a Boy's Own adventure than historical research
7 Harley, J. B., 'Maps, Knowledge, and Power' in The Iconography of Landscape, D. Cosgrove and S. Daniels (eds), (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1988), pp.217-312, pp. 278-9
8 Foucault, M., 'Questions on Geography' in Power/Knowledge: selected interviews and other writings 1972-7, edited by C. Gordon, (Brighton, 1980), pp.63-77, p.70. as Foucault notes, it is well known that the discipline of geography developed in the shadow of the military
9 See Foucault, Discipline and Punish, translated by A. Sheridan, (Penguin Press, London, 1977)
10 The accuracy of surveying techniques is not just a technical issue but is linked to political and economic changes that might alter either the use- or exchange-value of the land being surveyed: ever more detailed subdivision of land being a means of extorting maximal returns per area on investment. The emphasis placed upon accuracy as a measure of scientific veracity serves to naturalise these expansive, colonial interests of capital. See, Harvey, D., Spaces of Capital ... esp. 'Cartographic Identities: geographical knowledge under globalisation', pp.208-233
11 Black, J., Maps and Politics, (Reaktion Books, London, 1997), p.12
12 Sack, R. D., Human Territoriality: its theory and history, (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986), p.26
13 Sack, 'Human Territoriality: a theory', in Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 73, 1983, pp.55-74, p.67
14 Turnbull, D., "Cartography and Science in Early Modern Europe: Mapping the Construction of Knowledge Spaces", Imago Mundi 48, (1996), p.7
15 Desirous or covetous eyes; strongly associated, by St Augustine, with sexual desire
16 See St. Augustine, Confessions, translated and with an introduction by H. Chadwick, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1991), pp.209-212
17 Certeau, M., The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. S. Rendall, (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1984), p.92
18 Ibid, p.93.
19 Marin, L., Utopics: Spatial Play, trans. R. A. Vollrath, (Humanities Press, New Jersey, 1984), p.207.
20 Certeau, The Practice ... pp.46-7.
21 It might be that Foucault's focus on the power of official authority unwittingly contributes to that power by creating its supplementary 'resistance', and perversion of the authority of Law merely rearticulates it in its negative aspect.
22 See, Certeau, Heterologies: Discourse on the Other, translated by B. Massumi (Minneapolis University Press, Minneapolis, 1986)
23 See, Certeau, The Practice ... pp. 48-9
24 On the difference between 'tactics' and 'strategies'; see, Certeau, The Practice ... III. ''Making Do': Uses and Tactics', pp. 29-42, XII. 'Reading as Poaching', pp.165-176; and xix
25 I.e. Cartesian perspectivalism; but also, it poses an alternative to the quasi-cartographic description of the world's surface in the Northern tradition: see, Alpers, S., The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century, (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1983)
26 See, Buci-Glucksmann, C., La folie du voir: de l'esthétique baroque, (Editions Galilée, Paris, 1986)
27 See, Maravall, J. A., Culture of the Baroque: Analysis of a Historical Structure, translated by T. Cochran, (Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1986), p.68
28 Rose, J., Sexuality in the Field of Vision, (Verso, London, 1986), p.233
29 This is Maravall's notion of the resorte : see, 'Translator's Introduction' in Maravall, Culture of the Baroque, xxvii-xxviii
30 GNS, p.124
31 Gaudio, M., 'Matthew Paris and the Cartography of the Margins', Gesta XXXIX/1, 2000, pp.50-7, p.50. On the performative relation between the viewer/'traveller' and the map, see: Connolly, D. K. 'Imagined Pilgrimage in the Itinerary Maps of Matthew Paris', AB LXXXI, 1999, pp.598-622
32 Kupfer, M. "Medieval world maps: embedded images, interpretive frames", W&I, X (1994), p.270
33 Gaudio, 'Matthew Paris ... " p.53
34 Joseph, P, GNS, p. 125
35 Jijek, S., The Ticklish Subject: the absent centre of political ontology, (Verso, London, 1999), p.259
36 Jameson, F., 'Cognitive Mapping', in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, edited and with an introduction by C. Nelson and L. Grossberg (MacMillan Press, London, 1988), pp.347-357
37 Harvey, Spaces of Capital, p.221
38 See, Sack, R. D., Conceptions of Space in Social Thought, (MacMillan Press, London, 1980), esp. pp.95-105
39 Debord, G., 'The Theory of the Dérive', in The Theory of the Dérive and other situationist writings on the city, edited by L. Andreotti and X. Costa, published to coincide with the exhibition Situationists, Art, Politics, Urbanism, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, 3rd November 1996 to 6th January 1997, (Actar, Barcelona, 1996), pp.22-7
40 See Debord, The Society of the Spectacle (1967), translated by D. Nicholson-Smith, (Zone Books, New York, 1994)
41 The influence of such activities upon de Certeau's 'walker' is here made clear: cf. de Certeau, Practice ... pp.92-3
42 See, Debord, 'Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography', Les Lèvres Nues # 6, 1955, in Theory of the Dérive and other ... pp.18-21
43 McDonough, T. F. 'Situationist Space', October 67, Winter 1994, pp.59-77, p.69
44 Debord, 'Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography', op.cit, p.20: my italics
45 See, Benjamin, W. 'On Some Motifs in Baudelaire' in Illuminations, edited and introduced by H. Arendt, translated by H. Zohn, (Fontana/Collins, London, 1973), pp.157-202, p.174
46 McDonough, 'Situationist Space', p.73
47 Pollock, G., Vision and Difference, (Routledge, London, 1988), p.67; quoted in McDonough, op. cit., p.74
48 Benjamin, W., Arcades Project, trans. H. Eiland and K. McLaughlin, (Belknap Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1999) pp.427 and 448, respectively
49 Kaufmann, V., 'Angels of Purity', translated by J. Goodman, October 79, winter 1997, pp.49-68)
50 'The Theory of moments and construction of situations' (unsigned), Internationale Situationniste # 4, June 1960, pp.10-11, reproduced in Theory of the Dérive and other ... pp.100-1, p.101
51 'Editorial Notes: The Sense of Decay in Art', Internationale Situationniste 3, December 1959; reproduced in October 79, winter 1997, pp.102-108, p.106. On the problems of the use of Situationist tactics to "spice up descriptions of otherwise politically tame art practices", see Simon Ford's article 'Pseudo Situationism', in Art Monthly, October 1997, pp.19-22. In light of this, the slight irony of the discussion in the present article is not lost on the author
52 See Bourriaud, N., Relational Aesthetics, translated by S. Pleasance and F. Woods, (Les Presses du Réel, Paris, 2002), pp.11-21
53 Cf. ibid, p.84-5
54 Ibid, p.16
55 It must be stressed that this is by no means an exhaustive analysis of 'topocritical' art, and much of the work being made in this area continues to be some of the most exciting in contemporary art. Nevertheless, I believe Joseph's work serves as an adequate example, and some criticisms that I have attempted to make of his work might be equally pertinent to others.
56 Bourriaud, 'Topocritique ... ' p.32
57 Sassen, S., 'The City: Between Topographic Representation and Spatialised Power Projects' in Art Journal, vol.60 no.3, Summer 2001, pp.12-20, p.13
58 Ibid, p.19
59 Bourriaud, N., 'Modelised Politics' in Flash Art XXVI, n.171, summer 1993, p.142