If neoliberal market globalism is a paradigm that we disagree with, we can find subversive traction in its nature as a world picture. As such, in subverting the pictures of the world that enable and promote market globalism, we may be able to construct counter-global ideologies. This is radical cartography.
Google maps presents Chicago as a homogenized space, fully accessible and egalitarian. All roads are free and open to travel, and symbolize the unity and integration of space. The radical cartographer’s map of Chicago, color-coded by race, reveals how humans actually live. Here, roads function to segregate spaces. The google map tells us where we can go while the radical cartography unveils the hidden stratification that actually dominates the lives of Chicagonians. This exposes the barriers to human movement, and in some sense class mobility that the Apollonian market globalist view of the Earth simply fails to acknowledge.
“The collections of Street Views both celebrate and critique the current world. To deny Google’s power over framing our perceptions would be delusional, but the curator, in seeking out frames within these frames, reminds us of our humanity. The artist/curator, in reasserting the significance of the human gaze within Street View, recognizes the pain and disempowerment in being declared insignificant. The artist/curator challenges Google’s imperial claims and questions the company’s right to be the only one framing our cognitions and perceptions.” – John Rafman
Near the beginning of class, we examined the juxtaposition of the Blue Marble with a digital model of the Earth. With everything we’ve learned, what happens now when we ask: Which of these images is a picture of the world we live in?
Ben suggested that the Blue Marble was a lie. Does the Google Earth reveal that lie? Sachs suggested that whole Earth enthusiasts of both capitalist and environmental stripes found that the Blue Marble embodied their world pictures. Market globalists see in it a barrier-free world ripe for exploitation, while environmentalists recognize their interconnected and finite cybernetic home. Google Earth reproduces both of these symbolic potentials. What, I wonder, did Ben mean?