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Reflection 1

In thinking about our workshop and in relation to that, about performances that fold or unfold autobiography, place and satellites, I though that probably is most appropriate to use something that Deirdre Heddon calls autotopography. Topos comes from the Greek word for place, wile graphein means to scratch, to draw, to write; topography, then, signifies the writing of place. Autotopography intends to foreground the subjectivity involved in plotting place; autotopography is writing place through self (and simultaneously writing self through place). Autotopography is a creative act of seeing, interpretation and invention, all of which depends on where are you standing, when and for what purpose. This sort of mapping allows you to write the unknown or unrecognized route. In regards to our main focus, the satellites, I would like to mention Michel de Certeau's inscription of the authorizing and controlling “view from above”, probably one of the best known passages to capture a practice of mapping where a literally elevated viewer 'surveys' the scene below without actually partaking in it. I find this especially pertinent towards our ongoing disucssions of the use of gmaps. According to Harvey the cartographer in this position 'manufactures power' by creating a 'spatial panotpicon' (1997, p.159). De Certeau acknowledges that such a 'vantage point' exposes the 'lust to be a viewpoint and nothing more'. But, we should never forget that a viewpoint is a point of view and, in fact, a very specific and embodied point of view. Feminist geographer Doreen Massey reminds us that there is nothing intrinsically problematic about this view from above, since it is after all only another perspective (2005, p.106).
In short, all maps are partial and selective. Specific people produce them from specific places, within particular historical and cultural contexts, and usually for specific reasons. We need only to encounter the 'new names' given to 'newly discovered' countries to recognize this; colonized lands are rendered the same as 'home' through their mapping and naming. The strange is made familiar: translated and at least metaphorically conquered through the already-known. Such acts of naming are also performances of claiming ownership. (to be continued with Dortmund secret satellites, Blast theory and invisible autotopography)