The Map is not the Territory

2016

(Drawnings, collages and photos)

The complexity of the environment has presented a challenge for those who have mapped the surface of the earth, for centuries we have faced the paradox of the map. Representing the territory implies editing, all cartographic methods have been limited to the capacity of the instruments used. Despite its progressive sophistication, the means used for this task have never surpassed the complexity of nature. During the last century, and since the appearance of remote perception, photography has become one of the dominant techniques for the study of the environment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography, as a means of visual construction, captures a moment and a place with the subjectivity of the person who closes the camera. The massive diffusion of images has made us doubt about the veracity of what we see - we know how many factors can mediate the images we consume. However, there is a branch of photography that still does not win our distrust: satellite imagery.

 

Satellite images assume neutrality; they are created by machines rarely operated by man. From meteorological services to systems of location and cartography, satellite imagery is present in most of our technological devices. We use it daily; it helps us to understand the environment, we delegate the responsibility to trace our routes and we allow it to direct us. However, its apparent neutrality is illusory: satellite images are constructed by systems that do not simply present, but interpret and transform raw data, affecting what we see and how we see it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No place on the surface of the earth has fixed coordinates. Movement and change are constant in nature. Deviations are common in satellite maps. We are governed by complexity; while territories sink into the sea, others emerge, driven by the same physical forces that are transforming the territory. Even we are transforming agents of the environment. The map is not territory. Our maps will never be final.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2018 by JUAN CORTES. All rights reserved

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