How to Locate Yourself Without the Help of Your Smartphone

By Ya-Feng Mon

A

1) Tell someone a story about the place you are from

2) Ask the person how much they think the story would suit the place s/he is from

3) Tell the person whether/why you have thought the story has represented your culture

4) Tell yourself how you might have been wrong about the story’s representativeness of your

culture

 

B

1) Ask someone to tell you a story about the place s/he is from

2) Tell the person how much you think the story would suit the place you are from

3) Ask the person whether/why they have thought the story has represented his/her culture

4) Guess where s/he is from

5) Ask the person whether s/he agrees with your guess, and why

6) Ask the person whether s/he thinks s/he might have been wrong about his/her story’s

representativeness of his/her culture

 

C

1) Tell someone a story about an imaginary place where your best dreams have come true

2) Ask the person how much s/he thinks the story would suit the place s/he is from

3) Ask the person to guess where the place could be

4) Ask yourself whether you agree with his/her guess

D

1) Tell someone a story about an imaginary place where your worst nightmares have come true

2) Ask the person how much s/he thinks the story would suit the place s/he is from

3) Ask the person to guess where the place could be

4) Ask yourself whether you agree with his/her guess

E

1) Repeat any or all of A, B, C, D for as many times as you wish

2) Draw a map that includes all the places mentioned/described/guessed/discussed in your journey of storytelling

3) Use color, size, shape, or any other expressive elements on your map to indicate how/what you have felt/known about each place mentioned/described/guessed/discussed

4) Identify each place (re)presented on your map

 

F

Compare your map with other people’s

 

Rationale

There is something intriguing when Marc Auge, in theorizing ‘non-place’, accuses capitalism-driven supermodernity of wiping historical and local particularities off physically-inhabited places and replacing them with instructive or reductive mediated signs.  For, paradoxically, this ‘supermodern’ era of ours, however sign-oriented, appears also extremely obsessed with the knowledge of geographical differences and their resultant cultural identities.  The further information and image travel, the more we seem to learn about measuring the distance between ‘us’ and ‘them’, ‘me’ and ‘the other’.  This ability develops alongside the desire to grasp and account for the distance.  The desire is one that involves not only a hunger for power, where to know, to measure and to classify determine the potency to control and to define.  It entails as well the desperation to see, to confirm and to distinguish one’s own identity.

Maps reflect our knowledge of ‘places’ and indicate our understanding of identities.  As maps change, we see the restructuring of geographical knowledge coincide with the contestation of cultural identity, both in most cases informed by the results of new spatial exploration.

To be carried out in a setting where two thirds of the conference participants travel from foreign cities, the action proposed above is meant to engage a map-revising exploration at a personal level.  The introverted exploration, through triggering reflection upon one’s own geographical/cultural imagination, is potential to activate the production of surplus knowledge regarding places and identities.  Such production is only possible when the investment in exploration is collectively mobilized and exercised.  That is, to set off a journey to ‘renew’ what we know about where we think we belong and who we believe we are, we, risking being lost in a wandering journey, act as each other’s sailboats and offer our stories to be each other’s compass.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s