Critical Reading #2: Ryan Griffis, “For an Art Against the Cartography of Everyday Life”

In this essay, Ryan Griffis alludes to an earlier essay written by Martha Rosler “For an art against the Mythology of Everyday Life”. In her essay she discusses the pros and cons of “mass media” and art that addresses everyday life. Griffis references Rosler’s essay as a way of discussing the ability of art and technology to do these things. He uses this as a way of discussing “locative media”

Griffis describes locative media as a way of expressing everyday life in association to specific place, or location. He explains that locative media refers to “applications of geospatially aware technologies” that “[connect everyday life with] larger, socially mediated and networked forms of experience” (Griffis, Ryan. “For an Art Against the Cartography of Everyday Life.” Re-public. accessed October 28, 2010. <http://www.re-public.gr/en/?p=176). Griffis furthers Rosler’s criticism of the ideologies and mythologies that we blindly accept by establishing a contemporary connection between them and locative media. Griffis suggests that “the ideological link between life and consumption is even more seamless than before” and that it is related to a “technological inscription of desire” (Griffis, Ryan. “For an Art Against the Cartography of Everyday Life.” Re-public. accessed October 28, 2010. <http://www.re-public.gr/en/?p=176).

As Rosler’s essay discussed both the “oppressive and potentially liberating” aspects of mass media, Griffis also discusses both aspects of locative media. The rest of his article investigates the use of such media in contemporary art practices. He begins  this analysis by introducing “MILK”, a mapping project created by Esther Polak, Ieva Auzina and the Riga Center for New Media Culture. He uses this piece as an example of art which uses the ideas of locative media and executes them by using modern technologies such as GPS. He states this piece, and many others which fall under the category of locative media, can be described as documentary narratives; however, not all locative media subscribes to these traditions.

Griffis closes his analysis of locative media by questioning and discussing the relationship between ideology and technology. He questions the power of technology in creating environments which we blindly accept to be “normal”; Griffis investigates technological cartography in the way that Rosler questioned mass media. This essay left me thinking critically of the ideologies and mythologies that govern our everyday thinking, and the qualities that technology has over these apparatuses.

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