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PRINCETON UNIVERSITY

Laura Kurgan & Neil Brenner (respondent)

  

"Close Up at a Distance"

October 15, 2013 | 6.00pm | N107, Princeton School of Architecture

The past two decades have seen revolutionary shifts in our ability to navigate, inhabit, and define the spatial realm. The data flows that condition much of our lives now regularly include Global Positioning System (GPS) readings and satellite images of a quality once reserved for a few militaries and intelligence agencies, and powerful geographic information system (GIS) software is now commonplace. These new technologies have raised fundamental questions about the intersection between physical space and its representation, virtual space and its realization. In Close Up at a Distance, Laura Kurgan offers a theoretical account of these new digital technologies of location and a series of practical experiments in making maps and images with spatial data. Neither simply useful tools nor objects of wonder or anxiety, the technologies of GPS, GIS, and satellite imagery become, in this book, the subject and the medium of a critical exploration. Close Up at a Distance records situations of intense conflict and struggle, on the one hand, and fundamental transformations in our ways of seeing and of experiencing space, on the other.

Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics on Zone Books.

Laura Kurgan is Associate Professor of Architecture at Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning at Columbia University, where she is Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL) and the Director of Visual Studies. Her work explores things ranging from digital mapping technologies to the ethics and politics of mapping, new structures of participation in design, and the visualization of urban and global data. Her recent research includes a multi-year SIDL project on "million-dollar blocks" and the urban costs of the American incarceration experiment, and a collaborative exhibition on global migration and climate change. Her work has appeared at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Whitney Altria, MACBa Barcelona, the ZKM in Karlsruhe, and the Museum of Modern Art (where it is part of the permanent collection). She was the winner of the United States Artists Rockerfeller Fellowship in 2009, and named one of Esquire Magazine's 'Best and Brightest' in 2008. She has published articles and essays in Assemblage, Grey Room, ANY, Volume, and Else/Where Mapping, among other books and journals.

Neil Brenner is Professor of Urban Theory at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and the coordinator of the newly founded Urban Theory Lab GSD. He previously served as Professor of Sociology and Metropolitan Studies, and as an affiliated faculty member of the American Studies Program, at New York University. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago (1999); an MA in Geography from UCLA (1996); and a BA in Philosophy, Summa Cum Laude, from Yale College (1991).

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