Networked_Performance

Adam Greenfield

adamv2.png

On the failure (or impossibility) of mapping

Last night I had an appointment to meet some old friends at Freemans for drinks and – as is both my habit in general, and an occupational hazard when getting around town on a conveyance that moves faster than just about anything else in the mired cityscape – I showed up quite a bit early.

Having locked up my bike, I found myself with a good fifteen minutes on my hands, an absurdly generous stretch of time in which to stroll up and down the not-particularly-extensive length of Freeman’s Alley. I didn’t have a book, I didn’t happen to have my Moleskine on me, I had nothing close at hand with which to divert my attention, and so I wound up subjecting the space of the alley to the kind of close and sustained inspection I so rarely get to lavish on anything.

I saw windows bricked up, apparently against the encroachment of a neighbor building that was no longer in evidence. I saw fronds of razorwire tangled in rusted lengths of now-obsolescent barb, the both moored to a stanchion that had somehow worked or been torn free from anything more solid than the wire itself and which remained hanging stupidly in the void. Above all I saw a thousand ad hoc interventions, each the trace of some occasion on which an electrician or a plumber or a contractor made an off-plan, field-expedient modification in the name of getting things done – the outstanding example of which was a congeries of coiled, small-gauge utility lines staplegunned to the alley’s westerly wall, their distal ends disappearing through holes into the buildings beyond. Some of these were still tagged legibly (feed 193 chrystie roof), but most had long gone mute as to their function or purpose.
I took all of this in, over the course of a quarter-hour. And then I knew, immediately and in my bones, that any project devoted to the Borgesian attempt to map the built environment at even reasonably high resolution is forever doomed to failure, no matter how many self-reporting locational gizmos we tack onto the world. Time and layered improvisation had rendered this one alley-end baroque almost beyond description, calling into question the practicality of any attempt to represent it schematically. And from there, inevitably, the regress beckoned, as it always does for me, and I suddenly understood the world as nothing more than an enormous aggregation of moments like these.

Infrastructure foliates, ramifies. That’s what it is, what it does. It has a thousand parents, all of whom work on their own, in effective silence, and none of whose efforts or intentions are fully knowable to anyone else. Infrastructure, as I once insisted to a friend, is a bitch. All the cables, conduits, trunks and buses our planetary girdle of awareness is built from – they may not literally have the power of self-reproduction, but they may as well have, given how far beyond any one agency’s knowledge or control they are and continue to grow. You turn around for a moment and it’s all changed. How could we possibly hope to map it all?

I can’t help but think that this is one of those apparent insights which occasionally strike me with the force of epiphany, and yet are completely banal to others. I don’t know why a few minutes at the back of one particular New York alley should impress this feeling on me – maybe it’s the effect of recent attention to questions of situatedness and underspecification – but I do know that moving forward, I’ll be a lot less likely to take seriously any schema of the world which relies on the accurate description or representation of live infrastructure for its force. [blogged by Adam Greenfield]


Oct 31, 14:44
Trackback URL

Leave a comment

Tags


calls + opps performance livestage exhibition installation networked mobile writings participatory locative media augmented/mixed reality event new media video interactive public net art conference virtual intervention distributed second life sound political technology narrative festival tactical lecture art + science conversation social networks social games history surveillance dance music workshop urban mapping collaboration live upgrade! reblog activist wearable immersive public/private data architecture platform body collective aesthetics environment systems city identity film visualization culture telematic wireless web 2.0 site-specific ecology place webcast open source tool software text research intermedia space community audio radio nature hybrid 3-D avatar e-literature audio/visual responsive presence pyschogeography interdisciplinary media object interview physical global/ization ubiquitous theory theater biotechnology relational play code archive bioart generative news DIY robotic light place-specific hacktivism synthetic p2p cinema remix education agency interface language im/material live cinema algorithmic labor copyright simulation mashup animation perception image free/libre software multimedia artificial motion tracking voice convergence streaming reenactment gift economy machinima emergence webcam cyberreality glitch DJ/VJ tv censorship ARG nonlinear tag transdisciplinary touch recycle asynchronous fabbing semantic web hypermedia chance synesthesia biopolitics tangible app social choreography gesture unconference forking 1
1 3-D activist aesthetics agency algorithmic animation app architecture archive ARG art + science artificial asynchronous audio audio/visual augmented/mixed reality avatar bioart biopolitics biotechnology body calls + opps censorship chance cinema city code collaboration collective community conference convergence conversation copyright culture cyberreality dance data distributed DIY DJ/VJ e-literature ecology education emergence environment event exhibition fabbing festival film forking free/libre software games generative gesture gift economy glitch global/ization hacktivism history hybrid hypermedia identity im/material image immersive installation interactive interdisciplinary interface intermedia intervention interview labor language lecture light live live cinema livestage locative media machinima mapping mashup media mobile motion tracking multimedia music narrative nature net art networked new media news nonlinear object open source p2p participatory perception performance physical place place-specific platform play political presence public public/private pyschogeography radio reblog recycle reenactment relational remix research responsive robotic second life semantic web simulation site-specific social social choreography social networks software sound space streaming surveillance synesthesia synthetic systems tactical tag tangible technology telematic text theater theory tool touch transdisciplinary tv ubiquitous unconference upgrade! urban video virtual visualization voice wearable web 2.0 webcam webcast wireless workshop writings

Archives

2019

May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2018

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2017

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2016

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2015

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2014

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2013

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2012

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2011

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2010

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2009

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2008

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2007

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2006

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2005

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul
Jun | May | Apr | Mar | Feb | Jan

2004

Dec | Nov | Oct | Sep | Aug | Jul

What is this?

Networked Performance (N_P) is a research blog that focuses on emerging network-enabled practice.
Read more...

RSS feeds

N_P offers several RSS feeds, either for specific tags or for all the posts. Click the top left RSS icon that appears on each page for its respective feed. What is an RSS feed?

Bloggers

F.Y.I.

Feed2Mobile
Networked
New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc.
New American Radio
Turbulence.org
Networked_Music_Review
Upgrade! Boston
Massachusetts Cultural Council
New York State Council on the Arts, a State agency
Thinking Blogger Award

Turbulence Works

These are some of the latest works commissioned by Turbulence.org's net art commission program.
[ openspace ] wilderness [meme.garden] A More Subtle Perplex A Temporary Memorial Project for Jobbers' Canyon Built with ConAgra Products A Travel Guide A.B.S.M.L. Ars Virtua Artist-in-Residence (AVAIR) (2007) Awkward_NYC besides, Bonding Energy Bronx Rhymes Cell Tagging Channel TWo: NY Condition:Used Constellation Over Playas Data Diaries Domain of Mount GreylockVideo Portal Eclipse Empire State Endgame: A Cold War Love Story Flight Lines From the Valley of the Deer FUJI spaces and other places Global Direct Google Variations Gothamberg Grafik Dynamo Grow Old Handheld Histories as Hyper-Monuments html_butoh I am unable to tell you I'm Not Stalking You; I'm Socializing iLib Shakespeare (the perturbed sonnet project) INTERP Invisible Influenced iPak - 10,000 songs, 10,000 images, 10,000 abuses iSkyTV Journal of Journal Performance Studies Killbox L-Carrier Les Belles Infidles look art Lumens My Beating Blog MYPOCKET No Time Machine Nothing Happens: a performance in three acts Nothing You Have Done Deserves Such Praise Oil Standard Panemoticon Peripheral n2: KEYBOARD Playing Duchamp Plazaville Psychographics: Consumer Survey Recollecting Adams School of Perpetual Training Searching for Michelle/SFM Self-Portrait Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China ShiftSpace Commissions Program Social Relay Mail Space Video Spectral Quartet Superfund365, A Site-A-Day text_ocean The Xanadu Hijack This and that thought. Touching Gravity 2/Tilt Tumbarumba Tweet 4 Action Urban Attractors and Private Distractors We Ping Good Things To Life Wikireuse Without A Trace WoodEar Word Market You Don't Know Me
More commissions