Project
Close Up at a Distance, Mapping Technology Politics
person role
Author(s): 
Laura Kurgan
Publication date: 
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Publication name, page number: 
Zone Books, 2013
Description (optional): 
The past two decades have seen revolutionary shifts in our ability to navigate, inhabit, and define the spatial realm. The data flows that condition much of our lives now regularly include Global Positioning System (GPS) readings and satellite images of a quality once reserved for a few militaries and intelligence agencies, and powerful geographic information system (GIS) software is now commonplace. These new technologies have raised fundamental questions about the intersection between physical space and its representation, virtual space and its realization. In Close Up at a Distance, Laura Kurgan offers a theoretical account of these new digital technologies of location and a series of practical experiments in making maps and images with spatial data. Neither simply useful tools nor objects of wonder or anxiety, the technologies of GPS, GIS, and satellite imagery become, in this book, the subject and the medium of a critical exploration. Close Up at a Distance records situations of intense conflict and struggle, on the one hand, and fundamental transformations in our ways of seeing and of experiencing space, on the other. Kurgan maps and theorizes mass graves, incarceration patterns, disappearing forests, and currency flows in a series of cases that range from Kuwait (1991) to Kosovo (1999), New York (2001) to Indonesia (2010). Using digital spatial hardware and software designed for military and governmental use in reconnaissance, secrecy, monitoring, ballistics, the census, and national security, Kurgan engages and confronts the politics and complexities of these technologies and their uses. At the intersection of art, architecture, activism, and geography, she uncovers, in her essays and projects, the opacities inherent in the recording of information and data and reimagines the spaces they have opened up.
Intro text (homepage): 
Close Up at a Distance records situations of intense conflict and struggle, on the one hand, and fundamental transformations in our ways of seeing and of experiencing space, on the other.
Lead image: 
Author C4SR: 
Author Last Names for table: 
Kurgan
Publication short title (carousel): 
Close Up at a Distance, Mapping Technology Politics
Is Website?: 
no
dashboard_sort_date: 
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
(currently rendering default node template)
 
Project
Architecture & Justice
person role
Author(s): 
Spatial Information Design Lab
Publication date: 
Friday, September 15, 2006
Publication name, page number: 
The Architectural League
Description (optional): 
A guide to accompany the exhibition Architecture and Justice, at the Architectural League opening on September 14, 2006. Using rarely accessible data from the criminal justice system, the Spatial Information Design Lab and the Justice Mapping Center have created maps of these “million dollar blocks” and of the city-prison-city-prison migration flow for five of the nation’s cities. The maps suggest that the criminal justice system has become the predominant government institution in these communities and that public investment in this system has resulted in significant costs to other elements of our civic infrastructure — education, housing, health, and family. Prisons and jails form the distant exostructure of many American cities today.
Publication PDF: 
Intro text (homepage): 
Using rarely accessible data from the criminal justice system, the Spatial Information Design Lab and the Justice Mapping Center have created maps of these “million dollar blocks” and of the city-prison-city-prison migration flow for five of the nation’s cities. The maps suggest that the criminal justice system has become the predominant government institution in these communities and that public investment in this system has resulted in significant costs to other elements of our civic infrastructure — education, housing, health, and family. Prisons and jails form the distant exostructure of many American cities today.
Lead image: 
Author Last Names for table: 
Kurgan, Cadora, Reinfurt, Williams
Publication short title (carousel): 
Architecture & Justice
Is Website?: 
no
dashboard_sort_date: 
Friday, September 15, 2006
(currently rendering default node template)
Terre Natale: Exits Part 2
A panoramic multi-media installation which was on view at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, France as part of “Elsewhere starts here.”
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Global populations are unstable and on the move. Unprecedented numbers of migrants are leaving their countries for economic, political and environmental reasons. Exits, immerses the viewer in a dynamic presentation of data documenting contemporary human movement. Statistics documenting population shifts are not always neutral and the multiple efforts to collect them are decentralized and incomplete. Here the data are repurposed to build a narrative about global migration and its causes. The viewer enters a circular room and is surrounded by a panoramic video projection of a globe which rolls around the room printing maps as it spins. The maps are made from data which has been collected from a variety of sources, geogoded, statistically analyzed, re-processed through multiple programming languages and translated visually. The presentation is divided into narratives concerning population shifts, remittances, political refugees, natural disaster and sea-level rise and endangered languages.

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