Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Does Jameson fly Janet™?

The existence of the black world as spatially contiguous with our own "illuminated world," yet cognitively maintained as a separate geography, is interesting to me with respect to Jameson's diagnosis of the postmodern condition. Most resonant is his hypothesis that the topography of life is now mapped spatially rather than temporally, as there is homogenous space, but not homogenous time, available to us. Paglen's desciption of the black world as connected by a network of flight schedules diegetically omits all non-black space and creates a sense of continuity and "no-distance" out of what is an extremely discontinuous set of regions by manipulating the subject's experience of time through accelerated (and rarified) travel. This "airplane effect" seems key to creating the black world.

But this effect is not limited to this specific situation. Similar technological circumstances exist outside of the military realm, and are in fact central to many of our lives. Is it not equally possible, evident even, that other space-warped continuous topographies exist and are inhabited by us? Doesn't contemporary travel create similar seemingly geographically instantaneous networks of locales, and ignore the flyover zones just as instrumentally as the logic of black space? Going further, can it be said that modern cosmopolitanism and senses of globalization rely on such map editing? That is to say, would I feel this glocal phenomenon-- would I believe in its map-- if I couldn't be in Paris by this evening?

How much of our civilian lives are defined by this "other" type of black space?

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