The Persistence of the Grid
I just downloaded the Minimalist Augmented Reality iPad app, Configuration Space, by D:GP researcher and UCSD VisArts MFA candidate, Sam Kronick. Get it here.
It superimposes a denuded grid over the perceptual environment, giving the impression that one is in the Holodeck and can wield a magic lense for seeing through the simulation to the Cartesian grid beneath. It works great walking around, and even better in a moving car as Sam’s promo video demonstrates. (In a pun on theological empircism, the Star Trek Next Generation writers named one Holodeck addict, Lt. Berkeley, after Bishop George Berkeley, a contemporary of Newton, who argued that reality is only the what God wants us to see.)
Over the weekend, I read Apollo’s Eye, A Cartographic Genealogy of the Earth in the Western Imagination by Denis Cosgrove. This dense history is coloring everything I’m looking at today, and so, for Configuration Space, I’m taken by the (real) persistence of longitudinal grids in the construction of virtual space. I don’t take this as a persistence of Cartesian subject models, per se, but of an interest in instruments that would transport and fold the totality of space into the local habitat of the interface: to map that globality into the Deep Here of the instance.
If all interfaces are diagrams of the machinic networks they present to us, I think there’s an interest in exploding that diagram to its theoretical maximum, something like the mathematical substrate of the Earth’s surface. The absolute interface.
And the app is fun.▣