Note: If you see this text you use a browser which does not support usual Web-standards. Therefore the design of Media Art Net will not display correctly. Contents are nevertheless provided. For greatest possible comfort and full functionality you should use one of the recommended browsers.

Themesicon: navigation pathMapping and Texticon: navigation pathArchive/Map

icon: previous page

a place, but about events in time. For 150 years, maps have been tools for localizing and displaying links and hypotheses, and not only those relating to spatial topography. So in terms of the growing importance of databases, maps are a strategy, not a fixed format for understanding data. [32]

In the «conceptual and programmatic view of the virtual» (see Christine Buci-Glucksmann) we find not just the cartographer liberated by Icarus' mobile view (with all the problems the mythological link suggests), [33] but the map reader as well, not just in terms of artistic forms, but also of topology. In this way, maps open themselves up to a wide range of display modes and narratives, and also to disturbances and deviations. If these are then linked with the term ‹constellation›, then the processual aspect of the link between image and text becomes more three-dimensional. But at the same time Vilém Flusser's melancholy tale about the end of atlases sharpens our view of the losses linked with lost «atlas naïveté»: «The aim was to design history on the back of geography. The result was the opposite of what was intended. Anyone who cracked the code of these maps was not


inside history any more, but outside it. He could flick through the pages of history and recognize them as a code. Post-history had begun.» [34] This led to historical and encyclopaedic atlases that Flusser felt contributed to the «death of humanism,» but at the same time produced a «new imagination.» He saw this imagination at work in the codification of human beings to make them the content of atlases. It also affects the tools used by geopolitical strategists with their power-political urge to control access to electronic mapping. Only someone who can locate peoples and things as precisely as possible on a monitor is in a position to win wars today. Following Paul Virilio, this view of things has been explored in many forums and publications since the Gulf War. However correct these analyses might be, what is interesting here is the potential the ‹new› imagination has for designing other maps for more democratic and participatory use beyond the military sphere.

Alternative displays

The idea of a new way of perceiving images is not new (see the «Gallery Pictures» by David Teniers the

icon: next page