publication: Earth Constellations, Media Theory Journal

25. July 2018

Issue 2 of the peer reviewed Media Theory journal is open and online on the topic of Geospatial Memory. I've contributed with a paper, Earth Constellations: Agrarian Units and the Topological Partition of Space. Here's the abstract:

During the Spanish Inner Colonisation – a large-scale agricultural reform and land settlement program of the central decades of the 20th century – new towns were built in the middle of the arid areas that were going to be transformed into irrigated lands. Their names and locations were announced in the Official State Gazette together with their proposed locations. The system employed to address their positions in the wastelands was based on the road network: it involved the distances to the nearest roads, and the specification of the kilometric milestones concerned.

This paper proposes to analyse the positioning system in relation to one of the most salient features of this Spanish program: the use of the so-called cart-module to distribute the settlement towns. These were arranged in constellations so that each piece of land could be addressed through a walking distance from the closest town. Taking into account also the role of the authoritarian State, present in the technical management of the irrigation systems, the agriculture put into work will be analysed as a vertical practice.

This paper will consider these operations from what social anthropologist Penelope Harvey has pointed out as the topological quality of infrastructural spaces, where space is apprehended in relation to the effects of a calculating framework. The material transformation of this topological zoning through irrigation, finally, will be examined in relation to Lisa Parks’ critical infrastructure notion of satellite footprints and signal territories.

Edited by Joshua Synenko, other contributors are: Jon Dovey and Duncan Speakman, Matthew Flintham, Jill Didur and Lychee Fn, Manuel Portela, Albert Acedo and Carlos Granelll-Canut, Jason Farman, Florian Sprenger, Wolfgang Ernst, Mona Abaza, Shana MacDonald, Lu Pan, Danielle Drozdzewski, Kurt Kraler, Markus Reisenleitner, Jessica Becking, Rob Shields, Jamie Allen and Joshua Synenko.