Thinking through Digital Media

Transnational Environments and Locative Places


Chapter 2: Mapping Open Spaceto Visualize Other Knowledges

Open space refers to the green commons inside urban areas. Rather than defining and dividing, which are the domain of conventional cartography and historiography, radical and critical forms of cartography and historiography invite new participation and facilitate new questions. By enlisting perspectives frequently ignored or unrecognized, the projects examined in this chapter explore the interfaces and intervals of the digital, abstract, and immaterial with the localized, materialized, and grounded. 

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The Maiden Voyages Project

United States/Egypt/Iran/Jordan/Palestine, 2010 | Valerie Hird

The Maiden Voyages Project is a collaborative project with women in Egypt, Iran, Jordan, and Palestine in which checkpoints become a scheduled day per month to communicate their thoughts on being a woman among other women. A voluntary and collaborative check- point maps difference with a feminist commons. In her own words, Hird wanted “to recognize that women can have a shared experience within the rhythms and routines of daily life and still be very different women from very distinct cultures.” 


Dérive app

Uganda/Belgium, 2013 | Babak Fakhamzadeh and Eduardo Cachucho

Dérive app assigns task cards based on Guy Debord’s concept of the “dérive,” a psychogeographic practice that creates the conditions for an unplanned journey through an urban landscape with the aim of getting lost in order to elicit critical reflection on the space that we inhabit everyday but might not notice or even really see. 

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Visualizing Palestine

Palestine/Israel, 2012–present

Describing itself as an “intersection of communication, social sciences, technology, design and urban studies for social justice,” Visualizing Palestine’s purpose is to create “creative visuals to describe a factual rights-based narrative of Palestine/Israel.” Visualizing Palestine’s infographics are displayed on its website and through social media and are featured in news streams from Al Jazeera English, Huffington Post, Jadaliyya, PolicyMic, and The Daily Beast