Maps of time: exploring the rhythms of a mediated world

In June I will be heading to Sydney, with my PhD student Michaela French, where we will be presenting our joint paper exploring temporal mapping and rhythms at ISEA 2013. The work focuses on Michaela’s practice and our on-going discussions about digital mapping, relationships between user, machine, interface and artwork, as well as connections to the natural rhythms of the earth. More details about the paper can be found below:

Maps of time: exploring the rhythms of a mediated world

“Everywhere where there is interaction between a place, time and an expenditure of energy, there is a rhythm” (Lefebvre 2004:15)

Rhythm is a fundamental part of the human experience of place; planetary rhythm, circadian rhythm and cellular rhythm underpin our interpretations of the world and ourselves. Traditional mapping, in its translation to the page, prioritises space over time, frequently removing the cyclical rhythms inherent in the experience of landscape in favour of a more linear approach. In a world of GPS, user-generated mapping and mobile data, we are constantly translating energies, marking places, and attempting to create interactions between body, space and time. The real-time interaction with the machine creates a rhythm of materiality and consumption of online connected places, reflecting only one facet of our existence.

However, the temporality of the sun and the moon, as systems of cyclical rhythm depict a relationship between night and day, body and landscape; expending the energy of the spaces we exist in; the times they display. To map these rhythms allows for a different type of inscription, one that grows with the luminance of the place signifying a different mapping of time, a different layer of existence.

This paper explores the mapping of rhythms through luminance, focusing on two artworks, Two Places I Call Home by Michaela French and Streetlight Storm by Katie Paterson. By slowing down the inscription through real time events of environmental change, the experience of the viewer shifts, relating to the mapped space through a new lens. Exploring the layers of ‘real-time’ inherent within our daily lives, as so often not exposed through the fixed nature of the map, we are able to re-frame the rhythms of the digital experience. Similar mapping technologies become repurposed in order to adapt our experiences of place so often lost by the ephemeral quality of location-based experiences constantly infiltrating our everyday lives.