Shannon Mattern, Mapping's Intelligent Agents @ MIT Department of Architecture, Cambridge [15 September]

Shannon Mattern, Mapping's Intelligent Agents

17:00 - 18:30

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MIT Department of Architecture
77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Organized by Moa Carlsson, PhD Candidate, Design & Computation Group at MIT, MIT Department of Architecture
Room 7-429/Long Lounge

Mapping for machines, by machines is big business. Yet mapping’s artificial intelligences also have the potential to transform myriad design and research areas, to influence policy-making and governance, to support environmental preservation and public health – and, in the process, to pose critical questions about how our cartographic technologies conceptualize and operationalize space. And in order to fully exploit the methodological promise of cartography, those artificial intelligences – all the digital sensors and deep learning models – have to be supplemented with other cartographic intelligences and subjectivities, particularly those that extend beyond the computational “Other.” Marginalized and indigenous populations and non-human environmental actors belong on the map, too – and not merely as cartographic subjects, but as active mapping agents with spatial intelligences and worldviews quite unlike our own, and with an equal investment in the environments we share.

The Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River, Harold Fisk, 1944

Shannon Mattern is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at The New School. Her writing and teaching focus on archives, libraries, and other media spaces; media infrastructures; spatial epistemologies; and mediated sensation and exhibition. She is the author of The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities, Deep Mapping the Media City, and Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: Five Thousand Years of Urban Media (forthcoming), all published by University of Minnesota Press, and she contributes a regular long-form column about urban data and mediated infrastructures to Places Journal. You can find her at
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