Dr. Tommaso Morawski


Earth-scapes: the Earth as a geo-medium


Only twenty years have passed since the American vice-president Al Gore introduced the concept of the “Digital Earth”, and although his vison was not correct in its details, the idea of an interactive map of georeferenced data – data that refers to a specific place on the Earth – has quickly come true. Indeed, since the launch of geo-browsers like Google Maps and Google Earth, everything in the information world has become location-aware, getting tracked, tagged, and mapped. In my project, I plan to demonstrate that Google’s geo-spatial applications are the assembly environment of a new Copernican revolution. A revolution started by the astronauts of the Apollo missions, who took the first photographs of the Earth from space (Earthrise, The Blue Marble), transforming the unitary globe in a cosmic object and displacing through a process of ecumenical disorientation earthbound horizons with horizons that are planetary in scope. My thesis is that the technological transition undergone by the cartographic gaze, from the Apollo program to Google Maps and Google Earth, is part of a sweeping reconfiguration of view of Earth that involves both the way people perceive and organize space, and the relation between the observing subject and its modes of representation. In this context, my concern is twofold: On the one hand, I plan to retrace the cartographic genealogy of the Digital Earth, outlining some of the points of emergence of contemporary Earthly vision, a pictorial imagination characterized by the view of the Earth as a whole; on the other hand, I intend to examine to what extent the assembly of media-scapes connected with the Whole-Earth representation has extended the performative capacities of our cartographic imagination toward interactive forms of orientation, transforming our planet into an immersive and interactive Space-to-your-Face. A practical and imaginative aspect that deserves further study, considering that the globe – the geographical icon par excellence since the time of Ptolemy– is the sign on the basis of which the vast majority of processes that we commonly call global are defined and represented.


Tommaso Morawski (Roma, 1987) studied Philosophy at Sapienza – Università di Roma and at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. In 2017 Morawski obtained his PhD in Philosophy and History of Philosophy at Sapienza with a dissertation on the problem of spatial order in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. During his PhD, he was Visinting Scholar at the State University of New York – Stony Brook. Thereafter, he worked for the Cultural programs of the Goethe-Institut in Rome, within the organization of the Deutsch- italienischer Übersetzerpreis. He is an active member of the editorial board of the international journal Pólemos. Materiali di Filosofia e Critica sociale, and since 2013 he collaborates with the activities of the Cattedra Internazionale Emilio Garroni (CiEG). His main research foci include the philosophy of Enlightenment (in particular Kant), geo-aesthetics, history and philosophy of cartography, border studies, and philosophy of migration. 


T. Morawski, Orientation and Cartographic Imagination in the Age of the Digital Earth. Notes toward an aesthetics of Google Earth, in: L. Grabbe, P. Rupert-Kruse, N. M. Schmitz (eds.), YoMIS, Vol. 4, Image Evolution: Technological Transformations of Visual Media Culture, Büchner Verlag, Marburg, 2019, pp. 101-121.

T. Morawski, E. C. Sferrazza Papa (eds.) Filosofia e Cartografia. Prospettive storiche, estetiche, teoriche e politiche. Pòlemos. Materiali di Filosofia e Critica Sociale, N. 2. 2018, pp. 1-219

T. Morawski, Il senso globale del luogo. Una prospettiva kantiana sul rapporto tra luogo, identità e cultura, in: N. Cantore, S. Tortorella (eds.), La questione sociale nell’idealismo tedesco. Pòlemos. Materiali di Filosofia e Critica Sociale, N. 1. 2018, pp. 120- 141

T. Morawski, Kant, Königsberg, il mondo. Note per un rescaling della storia delle idee, in: Filosofia.it, 2017. (http://www.filosofia.it/saggi/konigsberg-e-il-mondo/)

T. Morawski, Die Terminologie. Ein antirationalistischer Aspekt der Philosophie Kants. PHILOSOPHICAL NEWS, N. 9. 2014, pp. 116-133

T. Morawski, F. Gianfrancesco, . Appunti sullo schematismo e le sue conseguenze antropologiche, in: Pòlemos. Materiali di Filosofia e Critica Sociale, 2014, pp. 133-152.

T. Morawski, Die Universität der Bienen. Zum Rechtsanspruch auf die Philosophie in der UniversitätINFORMACIÓN FILOSÓFICA, N. 10, 2013, pp. 10-30.


T. Morawski, Cartographic Imagination. Prolegomena to an Aesthetics of mapping. Rome, 9-11/09/2019, Bibliotheca Hertziana, Travelling Maps. Cartography’s Nomadic Languages Across Art. Literature, Politics and Media. 

T. Morawski, Reflections on the carticity of Kant’s philosophical writing. Oslo, 6-9/08/2019, The 13th International Kant Congress.

T. Morawski, Cartographic imagination between intermediality and transclarity. A geo-aesthetic perspective. Belgrade, 22 – 26/07/2019, ICA 2019: 21st International Congress of Aesthetics. perspective

T. Morawski, Kant, Forster, Humboldt: una costellazione geo-filosofica. La Konstellationsforshung alla prova dello spatial turn. Roma, 10 aprile 2019, Istituto Italiano di Studi Germanici, Konstellationsforschung. La teoria, gli esempi.

T. Morawski, Migrant forms of life: borders, citizenship and spaces of appearance. A cartographic perspective. Roma, 27/2–1/3/2019, Istituto Italiano di Studi Germanici: I confini dell’Europa. Prospettive nel presente e nel futuro

T. Morawski, The table of concepts and the sphere of reason: Reflections on the carticity of Kant’s transcendental philosophy. Valencia, 15-18/10/2018, Universidad de Valencia: IV Congreso internacional de la Sociedad de Estudios Kantianos en Lengua Española (SEKLE).

T. Morawski, Kant e il senso globale del luogo. Osservazioni per una geo-filosofia della globalizzazione Catania, 11-13/102018, Università di Catania. Multilateral Kant Colloqium – 8th Edition: Kant and the contemporary world. Philosophy, Science, Politics. 

T. Morawski, Carto-City: Google Maps e la leggibilità del paesaggio urbano contemporaneo. Roma, 15/06/2018, Sapienza-Università di Roma Forme di Vita urbane

T. Morawski, Kant’s Imaginative Geography and the Geographical Unity of Reason. Toronto, 18-22/10/2017, The Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (CECS) and The Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (NEASECS) joint Annual Conference: From Cosmopolitan to Cosmopolitanism 

T. Morawski, Notes toward a geo-oriented approach to the history of philosophy.

Milano, 9/06/2017, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore: Comparative History of Philosophy.

T. Morawski, Spatiality as a form of the Verständnisdarstellung. A Kantian point of view. Roma 5-7/09/2013, IV Eugeo Congress: Spatiality: topography and/versus topology in contemporary spatial thinking.