Destabilizing Playgrounds: Cartographical Interfaces, Mutability, Risk and Play

Chapter
Part of the Gaming Media and Social Effects book series (GMSE)

Abstract

In this chapter I will examine the triadic relation between play, digital mapping and power. I look at how playing with cartographical interfaces is a central and never neutral activity to digital mapping that invites users to change cartographic landscapes in playful and subversive ways, and thus containing potential to changing the very nature of maps and the spatial relations they invite us to produce. Since the emergence of digital maps, cartography has changed drastically. Digital maps allow for a greater degree of two-way interaction between map and user than analogue maps. Users are not just reading maps but can constantly influence the shape and look of the map itself. Used on our mobile phones, on our computers or as satnavs in our cars, maps have become more personal—transforming while we navigate with and through them. Digital maps have thus altered our conception of maps as ‘objectified’ representations of space that has been a touchstone for centuries (Anderson 1991; de Certeau 1984; Crampton 2001; Harley et al. 1988). Instead, I will argue in this chapter, maps have become more open to playful, subjective and subversive practices. Play is understood here as a range of activities that go beyond ordinary life by taking on a playful attitude (Cermak-Sassenrath 2013) and as activities of pleasure (Fiske 1993) although not necessarily fun (cf. Malaby 2007). I will probe is where exactly this room to play resides in the particular case of digital mapping and to what extent this gives users agency. Certainly, the image of the map has become mutable and seems to be open to play, but that does not necessarily mean that the power lies solely in the hands of the player/user. How does power work in such ever-transforming neo-cartographies and what affordances does the user/player have to change power-relations?

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013)/ERC Grant agreement no 283464.

References

  1. Anderson, B. R. (1991). Census, map, museum. In Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (pp. 163–185). London: Verso.Google Scholar
  2. Baudry, J. L. (1976). The apparatus. Camera Obscura 1(1).Google Scholar
  3. Cermak-Sassenrath, D. (2013). Playful computer interaction. In V. Frissen, S. Lammes, M. Lange, J. de Mul, & J. Raessens (Eds.), Homo Ludens 2.0: Play, Media, Identity. Amsterdam: AUP.Google Scholar
  4. Chesher, C. (2012). Navigating sociotechnical spaces: Comparing computer games and satnavs as digital spatial media. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 18(3), 315–330.Google Scholar
  5. Crampton, J. W. (2001). Maps as social constructions: Power, communication and visualization. Progress in Human Geography, 25(2), 235–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Certeau, M. (1984). The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley, London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dodge, M., & Kitchin, R. (2011). Mapping experience: crowdsourced cartography. Available at SSRN 1921340.Google Scholar
  8. Fiske, J. (1993). Power Plays, Power Works. London, New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  9. Fiske, J. (2011). Reading the Popular (2nd ed.). London; New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Foucault, M. (1980). Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977. New York, N.Y.: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  11. Galloway, A. R. (2004). Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization. The MIT press.Google Scholar
  12. Geertz, C. (1972). Deep play: Notes on the Balinese cockfight. Daedalus, 101(1), 1–37.Google Scholar
  13. Gekker, A., & Hind, S. (2013). Fingertips and foot pedals: The casual nature of digital mapping. In From Pole to Pole, ICC 2013, 26th International Cartographic Conference. Dresden. http://icaci.org/files/documents/ICC_proceedings/ICC2013/_extendedAbstract/137_proceeding.pdf.
  14. Gerlach, J. (2010). Vernacular mapping, and the ethics of what comes next. Cartographica: The International Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization, 45(3), 165–168.Google Scholar
  15. Harley, J. B., Cosgrove, D., & Daniels, S. (1988). Maps, knowledge, and power. In The Iconography of Landscape: Essays on the Symbolic Representation, Design and Use of Past Environments (pp. 277–312). Cambridge Studies in Historical Geography 9. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hayles, K. N. (2002). Flesh and metal: reconfiguring the mindbody in virtual environments. Configurations, 10(2), 297–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hirt, I. (2012). Mapping dreams/dreaming maps: Bridging indigenous and western geographical knowledge. Cartographica: The International Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization, 47(2), 105–120.Google Scholar
  18. Johnson, J. T., Louis, R. P., & Pramono, A. H. (2006). Facing the future: Encouraging critical cartographic literacies in indigenous communities. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, 4(1), 80–98.Google Scholar
  19. Lammes, S. (2011). The map as playground: Location-based games as cartographical practices. In Fourth International Conference of DIGRA. http://www.digra.org/wp-content/uploads/digital-library/11310.35282.pdf.
  20. Lammes, S. (2013). Digital cartographies as ludic practices. In J. Thissen & K. Zijlman (Eds.), Understanding Contemporary Culture: New Directions in Arts and Humanities Research (pp. 93–100). Amsterdam: AUP.Google Scholar
  21. Latour, B. (1990). Visualisation and cognition: Drawing things together. In M. Lynch & S. Woolgar (Eds.), Representation in Scientific Activity (pp. 19–68). Cambridge: Mass.Google Scholar
  22. Murray, J. (2013). Agency|Janet H. Murray’s Blog on Inventing the Medium. Retrieved May 2013 from http://inventingthemedium.com/tag/agency/.
  23. November, V., Camacho-Hübner, E., & Latour, B. (2010). Entering a risky territory: Space in the age of digital navigation. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28, 581–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Perkins, C. (2009). Playing with maps. In M. Dodge, R. Kitchin, & C. Perkins (Eds.), Rethinking Maps (pp. 167–188). Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  25. Pyne, S., & Taylor, D. R. F. (2012). Mapping indigenous perspectives in the making of the cybercartographic Atlas of the lake Huron treaty relationship process: A performative approach in a reconciliation context 1. Cartographica: The International Journal for Geographic Information and Geovisualization, 47(2), 92–104.Google Scholar
  26. Stacey, J. (1994). Star-gazing: Hollywood Cinema and Female Spectatorship. London, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Sutton-Smith, B. (2001). The Ambiguity of Play. Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Thrift, N. (2004). Movement-space: The changing domain of thinking resulting from the development of new kinds of spatial awareness. Economy and Society, 33(4), 582–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thrift, N. (2005). From born to made: Technology, biology and space. Transactions the Institute of British Geographers, 30, 463–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden UniversityLeidenNetherlands

Personalised recommendations