The Shadow Space of Allegorical Machines: Situating Locative Media Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Ingersoll, Alex Monroe
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication
  • This dissertation utilizes a media archaeological approach to the analysis of locative media, which are technologies that organize an experience of spatial orientation. For instance, a user can use a mobile phone to connect to a cellular network and generate a visualization of the material space in which he or she is positioned with annotated or interactive information on the screen. My critical approach to locative media is influenced by a historical constellation of orientation technologies, their contributions to the social imaginations of space, and the resulting experiences and expectations that are negotiated by the material, symbolic, and ideal. Four case studies on the astrolabe, magnetic compass, divining rod, and digital locative media make up a broader historical arrangement of which, I argue, digital locative media are the latest manifestation. Like other media technologies such as radio or television, these spatial technologies offer a window onto another world while also offering (other)spaces of symbolic and cultural codes that are layered over material space. The ability to reveal these otherspaces is associated with the recurring transcendent logic of locative media as individuals are encouraged to unveil the real behind the apparent in order to become united with a hybrid (and enchanted) ecology of the virtual and real. My locative media archaeology involves a theorization of allegorical machines, which is a term I use to analyze the interfaced interpretation of a shadow (imagined or informational) otherspace in relation to a porous correspondence between subject and space. This theorization is an interrogation of how engineers, technological promoters, and users position allegorical machines as making the supersensible sensible through an interface with the sublime. In other words, locative media are technological attempts to make the vague intelligible by bringing what lies outside the realm of physical experience into contact with the senses. Transcending to otherspaces such as the electromagnetic spectrum or the digital network involves an inherent metaphysics of the interface, which as liaisons between bodies and spaces generate animations such as the one that is the focus of this dissertation: the sublime desire or fear of unveiling the unknown space beyond space.
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  • In Copyright
  • Hillis, Ken
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Graduation year
  • 2013

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