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Where am I? (Geographies)

Etc. Montreal 2009, March-May, 85

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The Earth is blue like an orange, wrote surrealist poet Paul Eluard. The first astronauts--the first men to have observed it from such a distance, in orbit, cut off from our basic earthly habitat for a short and rare time--have compared it to the very same fruit--identical in shape, but not in color. The meeting of these two perceptions conferred the rank of a seer on the French poet, and turned poetry into a divination. However, such distanciation--which allows for such poetic appreciation--is now accessible to everybody, in virtual form, thanks to a small device known as a GPS (Global Positioning System). Moreover (and this is why there is still a huge difference), what is experienced in this virtual--and even mediated--distanciation is a satellite-based look at our own position, our own place on Earth, through a projected positioning. So, this experience occurs in a reconstructed space that gives a specific idea about its location, cast on the surface of a map reduced to arteries, streets, roads and highways. And this information--requested and granted--is also subjected to the position's specific time, because it is a well-known fact that the person who uses and consults GPS does so with a potential trip in mind, often to be undertaken in the near future. GPS provides information about the place where we are at in relation to the place where we want to go, and vice versa, within the context of a journey that happens at a given time. Furthermore, the small device also reveals to us that we are always situated in some place, in a relative location in a travel, captured between our destination and our point of departure--by an uncertain and relative motion transmitted jerkily on a luminescent screen. In short, the device comforts us: we are always in some place, and therefore, going somewhere. We are at a distinct point, betrayed by an oscillating needle, conspicuous among so many other paths and movements, made individual, transferred on an active and shifting map, followed by this man-made star, situated at the cote of a map to come, which unfolds and reveals itself with our every more. It's as though we have our own star, a divine eye that follows and guides us--or rather, the human eye, which has no doubt replaced the divine, and which helps us on our road and in our journey. Incidentally, we should lift out head to the sky upon consulting this apparatus of presence, because the data is on the screen, and yet it comes from above in response to data that was sent from the ground, from our own position.

Where am I? (Geographies)
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  • $5.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Performing Arts
  • Published: Mar 01, 2009
  • Publisher: Revue d'Art Contemporain Etc. Inc.
  • Seller: The Gale Group, Inc.
  • Print Length: 8 Pages
  • Language: French
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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