Power Mapping

Even as network culture displaces postmodernism, Jameson’s aesthetic of cognitive mapping is flourishing. Critical spatial practice has gathered a huge collection of critical mapping projects and essays about mapping today. And if you haven’t seen it, of course you should visit the essay that Marc Tuters (one of the coiners of the term ‘locative media’) and I wrote for the Networked Publics group, Beyond Locative Media.

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Geert Lovink on Blogging and Nihilism

This past Friday, Geert Lovink came to the Annenberg Center to present his essay on blogging and nihilism. It isn’t fully on line yet, but this taste is. I find a lot to agree with in Geert’s reading although unfortunately at the presentation a lot of people seemed to misunderstand nihilism, which is a long philosophical tradition.

You’ll have to wait until the essay appears in longer form on the net to appreciate the subtleties, but one observation that I made after reading it is that for those of us somewhere in the matrix between the academy, architecture, and the Internet, there is a fatal trajectory from post-structuralism to identity politics to dot.com Deleuzeanism to blogging.

I’d like to suggest that this isn’t merely a conflation of unlike terms but rather that there is a steady evolution here. There is a desire in each of the subsequent movements to affirm the individual (through subject position, through productive agency, and through an active DIY voice), but instead each one actually does a more thorough job of wiping out individual subjectivity than the previous iteration (please slot the blob under dot.com Deleuzeanism… a million 20-40 year old students, all being original, all making nearly identical shapes).

On the whole, the discipline is, as usual, woefully behind. It’s about twelve years since I first imagined an architecture blog (but succeed in launching it), ten years after I first suggested that SCI_Arc build an architecture blog to replace its static portal, nine years after the start of archinect, which eventually accomplished that task, and six years since I’ve been running this blog (with time off from 2003-2005 for my daughter and for AUDC). In the last year or so, however, architecture blogs seem to be springing up like weeds as the list on the lowere left of my blog affirms.

Obviously, I’m a blogger and, unless I’m mistaken, this is the longest-running personal blog in the field. And Lovink’s essay has nothing to do with the reduced frequency of my postings which is the product of lots of work toward the the Networked Publics conference and a bit less work toward World of Warcraft, which seems to claim bloggers left and right and together with other MMORPGs may well come after blogs in this timeline. But, like Geert, what I am observing is not only the massification of the Internet but a more generalized cultural move toward nothingness that expresses itself through the medium of the blog. Through the blog, we attain a complete and fatal condition, making our comments into the void, thereby affirming our existence while we also emphatically assert our distance from any situation we might act in.

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