Using a map is to create a visual understanding of the world, to establish its social construction through cartography. Far from representing a mere "true or false" mirror of nature, it redefines the world, like any other document, in terms of power relations and cultural practices.
"Our vision is continually active, continually moving, continually holding things in a circle around itself, constituting what is present to us as we are" said John Berger in his book "Ways of seeing", based on the BBC programme of the same name, a transmedia and transdisciplinary experiment. It is thanks to maps that we possess this new cognitive faculty that allows us to see the world through them.
In the 21st century, mapping the world takes on a new dimension, that of an invisible and yet very real world, sometimes very dark, born from the rise of information technologies and virtual realities; a world of surveillance and machine networks.
As a tool of discovery at first, technology becomes an instrument of power in a system of coercion and control. The idea of pushing the frontier of our space is exciting. Positioning oneself on a digital map that relies on a geo-localization service whose operation we know nothing about, has its limits.
Often all we need to know is how to get from point A to point B. Our interest is limited to these two points. To imagine what these places A & B are, or to know what lies between these two points, escapes our curiosity.
Maps of the world, which have become virtual realities consumed by machines - GPS, autonomous cars, etc. - circulate, without our knowledge, in very real infrastructures - submarine cables, satellites, terrestrial optical fibre networks, etc. - generating opacity, invisibility for each of us.
Today, the notions of Nation, Country, State are one and interchangeable. With the Internet and the advent of digital technologies, we will see a change in our societies, according to the forecasts of the Institute for the Future,
These notions will have very different meanings. Modifications will redraw the maps of the world and its representations in a profound way.
Reconstructing an individual or collective mythology, declining new lexical variations. Like the cartographer, I am creating a world, not a natural world, but a cultural world. This world is invested with one language among other possible ones, attesting to an organized space punctuated by significant and constructed places. Invaded by a reticulation of proper nouns, it appropriates a new space through chains of metaphors, fields of knowledge.
The Earth cannot look like its maps. Spatial representations, denominations of territories, inscription of toponymy on the map; never will the Earth appear to the eyes of a satellite or an aerial observer as something covered with toponyms. The mimetic process stops where writing begins.