Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mark Lombardi & Cognitive Mapping

Just to re-open the discussion on cognitive mapping and diagrammatic representation, I wanted to bring up Mark Lombardi, a "neo-conceptual" artist (according to Wikipedia) whose finely rendered "maps" diagram the people and systems involved in many corporate-political scandals. A classmate of mine in another class recently brought up Mark Lombardi as a figure of radical media, but I think he has even more relevance to course on imagined networks and global communities. A current traveling exhibition of his work is titled "Global Networks." Lombardi's diagrams, cleanly drawn with French curves and finely written titles, present often complex scandals of recent corporate-political context in a lucid and simplified manner. Like an elegant equation (and there is certainly something scientific about Lombardi's art) they present a system of causality, with one node leading into others, and creating complex yet entirely legible networks of event production. Some of the drawings are ordered along timelines, relating individuals and institutions to linear time progressions, while others aspire to a more global consciousness, wrapping around spherically (like the diagram above) to produce a sense that no one individual or institution is the original cause but that all are responsible, and collectively part of the same community. Ultimately, I do not think that these diagrams are what Jameson meant by "Cognitive Mapping" but like, it ponders the consciousness of corporations and their actions which Tsing has argued aspire to the global.

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