Written in January 2017, The Atlas of Tyrannical Archiving attempts to demonstrate and analyse the tyrannical powers that have affected how history is read through the medium of the archive and cartographic records. It examines how the storage of archives and their materiality has led to manipulation of societal memory, empirical tyranny, the destruction of records, and it’s subsequent consequences. Through analysis upon Freudian death drives and Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge, I conduct exploration into archival silences and their effect upon minorities within society, including John Potvin’s reparative work within the design history archives. The notion that maps act as geographical archives is explored, and the authority of the document is questioned through discourse on the vertical perspective, and the surrounding issues of cartography’s relationship with government secrecy.
The essay builds a case for the opinion that the United States remains a global geographic and empirical tyrant through their developing cartographic arms race in regards to unmanned air vehicles and self driving cars, and how there is a building responsibility for counter cartographers and artists such as Trevor Paglen to challenge and balance power by reappropriating knowledge to seek new narratives of social justice. These struggles in power are examined in my studio practice as I draw parallels between Google empirical reign, and Google Maps as a cartographic archive filled with it’s own secrets and silences. I also examine how new research undertaken for this report has created ambiguities and directional changes within my practice, leading to alternative development processes and further insightful conclusions.
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