Staubmarke (dustmark)

Staubmarke (dustmark)

Staubmarke (dustmark)

Staubmarke is a public space installation for the Drehmoment Festival in Stuttgart – a city affected by airborne particulate matter pollution.  Controversies between public health advocates, the city, and the local industry often manifest in disputes about proper methods of measurement and the veracity of citizen-collected data.

The project visualizes air pollution by calling attention to the patina on the city’s surfaces. The dustmarks are executed as reverse graffitis, making the accumulated pollution visible by partially removing it. By calling attention to dust as a material rather than an abstract value, the project contextualizes the sensor measurements with their physical basis.

Over the following months, the dustmarks will fade, as new dust will accumulate in the cleared areas of sign. Ultimately, the project is about the limits of objectivity – just as the dustmarks are no accurate representation of pollution exposure, the quantitative metrics are subject to political debates and at the same time only able to capture a limited aspect of the complex phenomenon of particulate matter.

Project website: http://dust.zone

In collaboration with Luftdaten.info, thanks to Lara Roth, Jan Lutz, Michael Saup, Pierre-Jean Gueno, Annekatrin Baumann/HLRS, Fa. Diezel

Paper: Maps of Daesh

Paper: Maps of Daesh

Paper: Maps of Daesh

The Cartographic Warfare Surrounding Insurgent Statehood 

The ongoing Syrian civil war raises new cartographic challenges, including the ethical question of how the self-proclaimed Islamic State should be represented. States and news organizations face a conundrum: by mapping IS territory, they implicitly acknowledge its statehood. I investigate how different mapping methods carry different connotations for representing the strength and nature of the terror state, arguing that the statehood the IS is symbolically contested through cartographic choices that reflect the diverging interests of map makers.

Based on a comparative study, this article investigates the visual languages of IS sanctuary maps as published by news agencies, intelligence agencies, or circulated by the insurgents themselves. I argue that the statehood of territory held by the IS is symbolically contested through cartographic choices that reflect the diverging interests of the map makers. Beyond official representations, the article also considers the maps created by amateur conflict mappers and visual forensics experts, who extract and cross-reference information from social media including posted cell phone and drone footage, georeferenced tweets, and satellite images. I argue that the novel visual strategies developed by these practitioners for presenting visual evidence emphasize nonrepresentational aspects of cartography and represent a countermodel to established cartographic languages that follows an indexical rather than iconic or symbolic paradigm. 

Link    Pdf      Link to the Map Archive 

Pdf with original figures from the paper 

Tracings of original images by Azam Majooni