New Media Lab: Mapping the Invisible

Open—Spring

The traditional ways of mapping the world rely on drawing objects that we can see with our eyes; but much of human experience is structured according to systems, networks, and connections that are largely unseen. What systems of meaning should be acknowledged when documenting our surroundings? What kinds of knowledge do we recognize in our sense of place? What is the difference—and what are the similarities—between our personal, cultural, and technological accountings of the world? Maps of the invisible can be based on any kind of connection perceived in a terrain. In this course, we’ll study landscapes that are both geographic and intangible—based on objective reality but also on memory, narrative, and systems of power—and reference artists, thinkers, cartographers, and geographers who are interested in manifestations of invisible systems while learning the basics of digital media production. Students will produce two individual map projects and contribute their own set of project markers to a larger collaborative map that we’ll design as a class. Readings will include the works of artists Trevor Paglan, Kathy Acker, Guy Debord, Fred Tomaselli, Paula Scher, Layla Kurtis, Alighiero Boetti, Joyce Kozloff, Ed Ruscha, and Susan Stockwell, as well as the writers Gloria Anzaldua, Amitav Ghosh, and Jorge Luis Borges.