Since the development of mobile media technology, there has been widespread proliferation of geo-locative, quasi-cartographic mapping practices in which people use applications (apps) on their mobile phones to negotiate, move and experience spatiality. These apps are reordering space, representation and power across technologies (a combination of cartographic discourses, digital economies and coded mapping applications), people (both in terms of embodiment, culture and subjectivity) and urban spaces (specific situated landscapes, infrastructures and flows).
Drawing on video footage from walking interviews in Sydney and Hong Kong, and archival documentation, this presentation considers how contemporary mobile mapping practices interweave topological and geometric rationalist models of space – across both digitality and materiality –, contra to intuitive, eruptive and ‘otherwise’ models of knowing. Focusing on a series of “moments” where the epistemological bases of everyday spatial knowledge are transformed into elasticated, yet gridded structures, I argue that everyday use of these apps offers important insights for future digital and spatial critiques of political power. It is in these moments, the extraordinary and the ordinary often become entangled, as the power of discourse becomes nestled in the everyday. In the volatility of postcolonial spaces, where the constant unexpected eruption of affect, haunting or trouble across bodies, technologies and spaces is bound with constant political contestation, the extra-ordinary becomes ordinary, and the ordinary, extraordinary.
Clancy Wilmott is a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Design and Creative Practice at RMIT University. Her research focuses on mobile technologies, cartographic (hi)stories, and postcolonial materialities in everyday life. She has previously been a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Manchester, and a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Warwick.