Experimental Geographies

In a recent issue of Critical Inquiry, W.J.T. Mitchell examines the particular image (or imaginary) that, in his view, links the Occupy Movement to the Arab Spring. The article is well worth a read even if I have strong reservations about the author’s reading of contemporary art in the second half of the paper. In particular, the author’s turn to the work of Antony Gormley as a point of departure for re-thinking “the problem of public art and the occupation of public space” is, it seems to me, deeply unsatisfying (though his reading of Wallinger’s State Britain is spot on). Setting aside for the moment some of my reservations towards the Occupy Movement, Mitchell does nevertheless make some important (if perhaps unremarkable) observations. I’ve included some select quotes below.

On the figure of occupation: “The figure that circulates globally, that embraces both Tahrir Square and Zuccotti Park, and has…

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Gazing upon the mediated architecture, video walls and fastidiousness of the esoterically sculpted digital installations of Seoul’s Digital Media City (DMC), it is hard not to think that you’ve somehow transferred from one city into another, without taking a step. A high-tech urban fantasy seamlessly superimposed onto the existing cityscape. Indeed in this way and in many others, Seoul can be thought of as a ‘Cyborg City’.

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