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. Warning: DirtyDB is used. This is fine for testing but not recommended for production. -- To suppress these warning messages change suppressErrorsInPadText to true in your settings.json Here we collect texts that can be collected in a reader for the Transmarcations worksession Some of them might come from here: http://pad.constantvzw.org/p/Demarkaties_literatuur
Transmarcations Selected texts Beursschouwburg, Brussels, 3-9 December 2017
Peter Westenberg Visual artist, co-initiator of the worksession, Constant (Brussels)
'Cartographies Queer'is an article written by Beatriz Préciado for the catalogue of the exhibition in Géoesthétique in 2012 ( http://www.lepeuplequimanque.org/geoesthetique ). The text discusses an approach to mapping as a 'fox' (ren@rde), opposite to mapping as a 'lion'. It is written in French and it exists in Spanish, but I don't find an available English version.
The introduction to the book Forensis by Eyal Weizman shows how visual representation, spatial analysis and mapping can be used as part of a wider practice in situations of crisis or to prove violations of international humanitarian law. In this sense, the work is dealing with a traditional understanding of forensic investigation but this is complicated due to the complexity of the issues and the nature of the world we live in, where there is no such thing as linear causality that could lead to absolute proof. Instead a way of detecting ‘weak signs’ is required that may lead to a ‘field causality’, where the performance of the political is just as important as evidence. I find this work inspiring as it uses the approach and methods of architecture but for a very different purpose. https://www.academia.edu/7429392/Introduction_Forensis
The introduction and first chapter to Close up at a Distance by Laura Kurgan. I like this work as it gives an account of the relationships between mapping technologies and the practices of representation. I also like the characterisation of certain forms of representation as ‘views from nowhere’, which relates very well to the speculative nature of architectural representation. http://www.mara-stream.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Close-up-at-a-Distance_LOW.pdf
François Zajega aka frankiezafe Programmer, artist, living and coding in Brussels Creator of the interactive installation Tanuki XY in the Grand Hall of Beursschouwburg
The Mathematics of the 3D Rotation Matrix by Diana Gruber This text is not using the same terms as the ones I am using, which is the vocabulary being partially defined by Frameworks. But it covers all the fundamental concepts used in 3D programming software when it comes to expressing the position, rotation and scale of something in the virtual world. "Something" meaning anything having a spacial influence on the rendering, such as meshes, lights cameras or bones. This text explains the point of view of a software engineer on a powerful representation concept: the matrix 4x4, a special kind of matrix. Even if I understand their content and behaviour, using these matrixes in code is often mind-bending. As they are at the heart of the rotations transformation from the kinect to the avatar, I though it might be interesting for others to discover them: http://www.fastgraph.com/makegames/3drotation/
Flow in gamesby Jenova Chen, MFA Thesis The videogame Flow has been the first stepstone that led me to imagine a fusion between videogames and art installations, on the level of user/player engagement as well as on the technical level. In this prospect, I propose the thesis of Jenova Chen, who modelled the concept of Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment (DDA) as an alternative to the mainstream conception of rewards and punishments in the videogame industry. Before being published by Sony, he published a flash game online (the first one I played). After this one, the company http://thatgamecompany.com/ kept on producing gentle and delightful experiences, such as Journey (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_(2012_video_game)) or Flowers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flower_(video_game)). "Rather than offering player a passive DDA experience by analyzing incomplete in-game data, this thesis uses Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow theory and provides players with subconscious choices to help them actively customize their optimal video game experiences. It treats active DDA as a new parameter for analyzing video games and seeks to address why certain video games had a wider appeal than others." EN: http://www.jenovachen.com/flowingames/abstract.htm
Goodbye Uncanny Valleyby Alan Warburton This video essay on computer graphics is a nice introduction to question the relationship between technique and art, new aesthetics exploration involving motion as much as images in distorted virtual worlds. https://vimeo.com/237568588
Pierre Huyghebaert Brussels based graphic designer, typographer and cartographer at Speculoos (Brussels) and teacher at La Cambre. Presents the track 'Geo-body maps'
What would feminist data visualization look like? by Catherine D’Ignazio https://visionscarto.net/feminist-data-visualization #methodology #visualization #cartography #critic #situated_knowledge #feminism "While there is a lot of hype about data visualization, and a lot of new tools for doing it (my colleague Rahul Bhargava and I have counted over 500!), fewer people are thinking critically about the politics and ethics of representation. This, combined with a chart-scared general public, means that data visualizations wield a tremendous amount of rhetorical power. Even when we rationally know that data visualizations do not represent “the whole world”, we forget that fact and accept charts as facts because they are generalized, scientific and seem to present an expert, neutral point of view." It seems that this synthesis could reward sources better, but it is very concrete and pedagogical.
La cartographie comme bien commun by Nicolas Malevé and Rafaella Houlstan-Hasaerts FR: http://www.towards.be/site/spip.php?article366 EN: http://www.towards.be/site/spip.php?article367 "Cartographie et pouvoir sont intimement liés. C’est une évidence : celui qui contrôle la carte contrôle le territoire, et ce à plusieurs niveaux. Celui qui la consulte, pour autant qu’il sache la décoder, devient à même de s’orienter dans l’espace. Celui qui la crée, situé un cran au-dessus, propose (ou impose) sa vision du territoire, tel qu’il le perçoit ou tel qu’il le projette. Celui qui la possède, enfin, décide de sa diffusion et donc du pouvoir qu’il accorde ou dénie aux autres concernant le territoire. En effet, la carte est loin d’être un outil anodin : figurative autant que projective, simulation de l’espace autant qu’espace de simulation, elle se situe aux sources mêmes des stratégies militaires, du capitalisme marchand, des découpages territoriaux et, dans le cas particulier des villes, elle a la plupart du temps déterminé ce qui allait être dessiné, mesuré et donc en fin de compte bâti ou du moins planifié. Jadis strictement réservée à une minorité, la cartographie s’ouvre aujourd’hui à une plus vaste gamme d’utilisateurs. Personnes à mobilité accrue, néo-nomades dans un monde globalisé, nous les utilisons et les trouvons partout : dans les transports en commun, les guides touristiques, les rues, les centres commerciaux et, plus particulièrement encore, sur les écrans de nos ordinateurs ou de nos GPS. Avec Google Earth, Google Maps, Mappy et autres géoportails, c’est la terre entière qui s’offre à nous en quelques clics, affranchie des contraintes de l’échelle et de la feuille de papier." This text is quite general and a bit old, but it is interesting to reread it in the light of more recent proposals and to adopt the measure of the distance.
"I'm writing a cultural history of data visualization and allied practices. Rather than treat these visual forms as more or less optimal or effective tools for conveying factual material, I treat them as opaque objects that reflect the cultural and political assumptions of their use contexts. I explore these contexts mainly through biographical and institutional histories (for example, the career path of freelance artists whose worked heavily shaped the field) to show how styles developed in one context propagated to others, sometimes as caricatures or even objects of mockery. Contrary to conventional histories which present visualization as a rational, ever-more refined response to growing amounts of information, I show how, well before Claude Shannon formalized a mathematical model of information, the essential visual forms of charts and graphs we rely on had already achieved a popular, even folkloric status — for example, as comic props in cartoons about the Wall Street crash of 1929. The same period also saw genuinely innovative approaches to visualization, which relied on an accessible pictorial approaches rather than abstract geometrical idioms. Prior to World War 2, these forms were adopted by socialist and progressive reformers on both sides of the Atlantic. In the wake of the war, though, these figurative approaches came under attack — dismissed, for example, as communist propaganda. With the rise of aviation and its importance in shaping the course of World War 2, the older mathematical forms began to appear in new contexts — in particular, in aeronautic instrumentation and experimental cartography. Far from being merely neutral or optimal ways of presenting information, though, these new applications invested visualization with a political freight that reflected the US's postwar dominance. This visual form of the so-called Pax Americana still play a central role in environmental discourse and emerging quasi-fields like planetary studies. The conflict, between overtly political figurative forms, on the one hand, and tacitly depoliticized abstract forms persists to this day, on the other — notably in Edward Tufte's widely regarded criticisms of "chartjunk." I show how technocratic criticism that focuses on minimalist styles and cognitive impact often masks anti-democratic values, and how its credulous acceptance serves to obscure critical ways of thinking about information — again, understood less as empirical measures than as cultural artifacts. I also show how this figurative/abstract tension is part of a larger cultural (and political) conflict over where and how humans fit in to "informational" abstraction. The premise and prestige of visualization — the ability to identify visual patterns — creates structural incentives (for example, profit) to find patterns that don't exist or are meaningless. When this drives merges with the folkloric legacies of visualization, the result can be the antithesis of what technocratic models of visualization propose: a perverse, regressive, and covertly political in the guise of neutral, empirical, and/or mathematical descriptions."
1. The 'glob' of pax americana: the shifting visual construction of the globe > global > globalism > globalization from the late 1930s on. I trace the emergence of a new kind of image of the world: a homogeneous sphere defined by a coordinate system in which (or on which) was the substrate for conflicts between chaotic phenomena and orderly political projects. This model has become so naturalized that we take it for granted — and ironically the current vogue for cartography tends to affirm it by treating cartographic projections as a sort of intellectual-critical and even quasi-activist hobby. But its foundations lie less in several slow centuries of cartographic development than in a few quick decades, or even in a few years, in which this model of the world was heavily shaped by a handful of art director/designers who moved freely between Henry Luce's magazine empire (Fortune, Time, and Life) and working for the US military and intelligence agencies (War Dept, State, the OSS). Those milieus shared a drive to promote a stable world order, the pax americana, that would be stabilized by a shift from manufacturing- to consumption-oriented economies. This correlates strongly with the rise of aviation and rocketry as a continuous 'platform' — for rethinking how we see the world, materially and metaphorically, which led directly, and on many levels, to widely-held beliefs that the world is 'out of balance,' hence to the foundations of key aspects of environmentalism and emerging fields like 'planetary studies.' Heavily illustrated, as they say. Parts of it are genuinely hilarious.
2. The US reception of Isotype, from a tool close to what Otto Neurath envisioned — a political-cultural tool for advancing socialist reform — through the McCarthyite attack on *figurative* dataviz, and finally to sad hapless figures of apolitical, instrumentalized symbol sets like the AIGA's. Again, this traces this history largely through the work of a handful of art director/designers, from '30s educational reformers (again!) through Luce's empire, but from there it takes a different path: I look at the tension between these utopian political ideals and US commercial culture, and show how the commercial work context of these director/designers forced them to look for profitable ways to apply their talents — in promoting the first public-opinion polls, early popular books about statistics, and finally into naive clip-art. The larger context is the shifting interests of US foundations as their focus shifted from strongly progressive political reform into a tamer project of promoting utopian ideals around the potential of 'communication.' The first part is heavily illustrated, but the later material is more about institutional history.
There's lots more, but I'll be more brief:
- the role of aerospace imaginaries in the emergence of US paranoiac/conspiratorial thought
- the relationship between Cold War imaginaries and radical cartography (e.g., Pluto Press's State of the World Atlas, William Bunge)
- and of course a ruthless takedown of the cult of dataviz
"La Sémiologie graphique de Jacques Bertin a cinquante ans', by Gilles Palsky https://visionscarto.net/la-semiologie-graphique-a-50-ans "Un ouvrage hors sol ? ... Cette question nous conduit à souligner ce qui constitue le principal point aveugle du système de Bertin : les notions de règle, d’efficacité ou d’« image » ne prennent pas en compte les aspects culturels de la lecture d’une représentation graphique, et en particulier les apprentissages préalables. Dès 1971, C. Metz estimait que Bertin aurait pu se préoccuper d’étudier les liens qui unissent le code technique de la graphique aux « multiples codifications socioculturelles que l’on peut voir à l’œuvre dans la civilisation où les graphiques sont en usage » (Metz, 1971, 766). Dans l’introduction nouvelle de l’édition de 1973 de la Sémiologie, Bertin règle le problème en proclamant que la graphique est un « système monosémique », ce qui évacue a priori toute interprétation ou discussion : Cette distinction est fondamentale car elle donne tout son sens à “la graphique” par rapport aux autres formes de visualisation. Qu’est-ce, en réalité, qu’employer un système monosémique ? C’est consacrer à la réflexion un moment pendant lequel on cherche à réduire au maximum la confusion, pendant lequel, dans un certain domaine et pour un certain temps, tous les participants s’accordent sur certaines significations, et conviennent de ne plus en discuter » (Bertin, 1973) . C’est une posture assez extravagante et pourtant régulièrement ressassée. Son enjeu est clair : maîtriser la communication, et poser les règles d’un système « purifié », c’est-à-dire exclusivement scientifique, rigoureux et neutre. C’est oublier que même si une légende prédéfinit une signification, un signe peut toujours en revêtir d’autres à la lecture. Un signe n’est jamais purement dénotatif, il connote également, et toutes ses connotations sont transférées sur l’objet. Une carte a plus qu’un sens littéral : elle développe aussi des significations métaphoriques, ou symboliques."
Florence Aigner Photographer based in Brussels with an academic background in Refugee Studies. Presents the track 'Lexicon of Exile'
'Penser l'exil pour penser l'être' / 'Think exile to think Being' by Olivia Bianchi I am very interested in this article especially for this passage: ' L’exilé ne pleure pas une parcelle de terre qui, de fait, ne lui appartient plus, mais il pleure ce rapport à l’être qu’il a perdu et qui le définissait.'
It means that the person in exil is not crying for his land or the place where he used to belong to, but he is crying for the relationship to himself that has been lost, this relationship that used to define him. And the idea of losing the relationship to oneself has made me very curious and intrigued. Are we really losing this relation to oneself? And how? Can exile also be a place where new relationships to oneself and the world can be developed? It reminds me of the words of a man, a Syrian refugee living in Brussels, who told me once that despite the feeling of loss and being uprooted, exile is also a big chance for him... https://leportique.revues.org/519?lang=en
Peggy Pierrot Involved in projects linking information, media, activism, radio art, and technology. Collaborated on the track 'Lexicon of Exile'
How Tech Tools Transformed New York’s Sex Trade, Wired https://www.wired.com/2011/01/ff_sextrade/ I choose this example even though it's not "perfect", because I'm wondering how to map the process of gentrification, not only the change but also the reasons why.
An Mertens Writer, storyteller, co-initiator of the worksession, Constant, Brussels
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction “If you deny any affinity with another person or kind of person, if you declare it to be wholly different from yourself - as men have done to women, and class has done to class, and nation has done to nation - you may hate it or deify it; but in either case you have denied its spiritual equality and its human reality. You have made it into a thing, to which the only possible relationship is a power relationship. And thus you have fatally impoverished your own reality. You have, in fact, alienated yourself.” Le Guin's style is not my favourite, but her stories have transformed my brain. She tweaks borders of countries, planets, bodies, gender...
Léonora Miano, Blues pour Elise https://hommesmigrations.revues.org/835 In every city there are layers of networks, reaching out to the world and specific problems that never reach the media. This novel is lightweight, but gives a beautiful inside in the world of 'African' hairdressers and their audience. When I first landed in Brussels, I lived in Matongé, where these women's gatherings at the hairdresser intrigued me, even more because I never found a way to peak in.
Razan Al-Maghrabi, Women of the Wind http://www.arabicfiction.org/en/Women%20of%20Wind A novel about women gossiping all day long, so much that it becomes hard to read. A beautiful portrait of women in Lybian society who leave on insecure boats to cross the ocean because of a type of life that doesn't fit them. Any reason a human has to leave a country, is valuable.
Pascale Barret Brussels based visual, sound & performance artist Presents the track 'Trans passport', with Alexander Antonopoulos
"... we do not want to produce. We are the decentralized living network. We reject a citizenship defined by our productive force or our reproductive power. We want a total citizenship defined by the sharing of techniques, fluids, seeds, water, knowledge ... " Nous disons révolution! by Paul B. Preciado: http://next.liberation.fr/culture/2013/03/20/nous-disons-revolution_890087
Situated Knowledge / TRANSGAÏA transMonstra IntersectionalGhost My first thought was at the level of my legitimacy to take part in the subject being a person assigned woman, white, cisgender. I took part of "transfeminist" and "intersexes" seminars in the frame of the 10 years of Genre Pluriels in Brussels. Also in the thinking of materialistic feminisms, it's important to situate knowledge, to be careful not to go into a situation of "colonizing asymmetry". It's why I would propose to pay attention to the human and non-human (ecofeminism, Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene with Anna Tsing), especially because the evolution of medicine, psychiatry and legislation are produced by the effects of our patriarchal capitalism. Reclaiming Monsters?
Personal (un)identification (as Pascale), ecofeminist queer, Xenogenre, genderfluid, non binary Auto-regulation dé(un)-normative, TransFeminism / TransSectionnalité Fluid genderS are the expression of a gender continuum along which people are free to evolve toward a personal comfort zone, which depends neither on the so-called biological gender (i.e. genetics and development of the reproductive organs) nor on sexual orientation. Gender identity and sexual orientation: one is often mistaken for the other. The concept of sexual orientation however can only exist within the realm of binary gender. If gender can be plural, sexuality can too! Thinking Fluid Genders in 3D and 4D (+time dimension) visualizations (get out of 2D supremacies)
FR: https://genrepsy.hypotheses.org/tag/feminisme " For this volume 3 of "Cahiers de la transidentité", we looked at "queer" productions or, to put it another way, the "queerisation" of minorized figures and their relation to trans and feminisms. If the queer is a space more than an identity, located at the margins at the same time as it is the fulcrum of actions towards the center (Bourcier, 2006), the queer is also a temporality (Halberstam, 2005). In this sense, it will be to hear "queer" not as a noun but as a verb, that is to say as a process of "queerisation". Many writings stem from this desire: "Rethinking and queerizing travesty" (Bourcier, 2006), "Should we eradicate psychoanalysis? " (David-Menard, 2009), "Queerizing the body: practice of Arab feminists" (Gharaibeh, 2012) or even "From the gendered space to the queerized space" (Borghi, 2012). This "queerisation" has the collateral effect of being perceived as a new process of invisibilisation in which the discourse of the minorities is erased by "queer postures". Paradoxically, the links between the trans population and queer productions are numerous, as are those linking the queer population and Transgender Studies. In this introduction, we would like to ask the terms of the debate while proposing an ethic in research in this specific place where the "queer" / "trans" conflict seems to be most acute. This introduction is also intended as a programmatic text in view of future research aimed at capturing strong questions and resistance at the confluence of these movements. "
(trans) pass port ID After the second world war, an international "order" imposes the passport for all (a genders illustration is in the story of tvshow "transparent"), imposes Binary Obligation to be assigned medically and surgically "Male" or "Female" (ref. to InterSex and Trans humans). Paper /electronic, Biometry, fingerprints https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biometrics Species, non-human passport (animal, plant- food- trade), Passport & MONEY (& psychiatry still ; OMS / DSM (psycho norm discrimination))
Last May 2017, Belgium adopted the "law reforming transgender regimes regarding the mention of a modification of the registration of sex in the acts of the civil law and its effects ". This is the result of a hard work from a group of associations and Lawyers "Equality Laws Clinic" ULB university (Immigration and asylum law, Reproductive justice and abortion rights, Transgender rights, Disability rights). In Belgium, before this new law, requests for gender change were governed by psychiatrists and surgeons (psychotic diagnostics & sterilizations mandatory). https://www.genrespluriels.be/Un-grand-progres-mais-d-immenses-chantiers?lang=fr
Alexander Antonopoulos Teaches political science, philosophy at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute & Womens Studies, at Concordia University, Montreal. Presents the track 'Trans passport', with Pascale Barret Presents a lecture on Thursday evening: http://constantvzw.org/site/Transmarcations-talks,2898.html
“Gender Revolution: The Shifting Landscape of Gender,” National Geographic, Special Issue, January 2017. http://www.pdf-flip.com/examples/pubs/Magazines/Mag_16.pdf "The Transgender Tipping Point: America’s Transition." (cover story) Time, 183 (22), 38-46. accessed Nov 7, 2017, http://time.com/135480/transgender-tipping-point/. Time and NationalGeographic take historic steps in promoting Transgender visibility, putting the spotlight on this issue to a degree unimaginable a decade ago as the intensely personal and embodied subject of gender identity enters the public sphere, a mark of the era of Trans.
Here are some additional materials in trans studies that may be of interest::
Bornstein, Kate. (1998). My Gender Workbook: How to become a real man, a real woman, the real you, or something else entirely. New York; Routledge. http://www.yorku.ca/spot/caitlin/bornstein.pdf A fun and groundbreaking introduction to trans studies and the issues surrounding gender identity and expression, gender assignment, gender attribution, gender role, and the asymmetric inequalities of the gender binary, written by a trans woman. Includes intersectional perspective on trans.
For other introductory materials that engage with the power of language in describing trans realities, see the following: "Transgendered Glossary", accessed 11/7/, 2017, http://www.tsroadmap.com/start/tgterms.html. Stone, Sandy. "Sandystone.Com: Jacob Hale's Rules for Non-Trans Writing about Trans", accessed 11/7/, 2017, https://sandystone.com/hale.rules.html. Makes important suggestions for activists engaging respectfully with trans lives. Koyama, Emi. “Cissexual/Cisgender: decentralizing the dominant group,” "Eminism.Org - Interchange,” accessed 11/7/, 2017, http://eminism.org/interchange/2002/20020607-wmstl.html Describes the new spatializing vocabulary of cis- and trans- that informs trans studies today.
Cameron, L. (1996). Body alchemy: Transsexual portraits (1st ed.). Pittsburgh, Pa: Cleis Press. https://books.google.com/books/about/Body_alchemy.html?id=7aXgzfkjgaQC An acclaimed pictorial personal history of technologically assisted transition that features hormonal injection and surgical body modifications by a trans man, that includes portraits of other trans masculine subjects.
Spade, D. (2011). Normal life: Administrative violence, critical trans politics, and the limits of law. Brooklyn, NY: South End Press. http://challengingmalesupremacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Normal-Life-Chapter-1.pdf A legal approach to trans issues raises the question of “life chances” of trans populations in the neoliberal era. Written by a trans legal scholar, it shows us the dark side of the biopolitics of transition, a side otherwise known as “necropolitics” and pertinent to trans migrants and other under represented trans populations that disappear from the the trans normativity that defines the current era.
Cotten, T. T. (2012). Transgender migrations: The bodies, borders, and politics of transition. New York: Routledge. https://books.google.com/books/about/Transgender_Migrations.html?id=hGKp2QMwrvMC A unique testimony to the intersectional subject of bio-geographical practices of embodiment, this anthology, and particularly the editor’s introduction, has inspired the title of my presentation. With “geopolitics” as a main player in the field of trans studies, the collection of essays supports analogies between migration through genders and migration through borders of nation states. However, the experiential intersection of these transition sites is a much needed complement that I am hoping to provide in presenting my case of transmarcations in the first-person singular.
Deleuze, Gilles. (1992). “Postscript on the societies of control,” October, Volume 59, (Winter 1992), pp 3-7. https://cidadeinseguranca.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/deleuze_control.pdf A very important reference on the question of power, regimes of power, and biopolitical control. This very short article helps contextualize the current age politically and historically with respect to trans passports and technology. Available in pdf at the link below.