Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ernst

Beyond the Archive: Bit-Mapping

Introduction given at the symposium "Mapping"

Wolfgang Ernst

Wolfgang Ernst



Recently a “spatial turn” has been announced in Cultural Studies. In digital operations, though, “space” is nothing but a metaphor. “Mapping” therefore should be taken in its mathematical, topological sense, in order not to confuse imaginary (iconic) with symbolic (indexical) operations in cybernetic aggregates and physical networks. Media-archaeologically seen, cyber‹space› is not about images, sounds or texts, but about bits; thus the cartographic or mnemotechnical approach is misleading. This opens new horizons for search operations in the "Media Art Net": Not just addressing and linking images and texts by alphabetical addresses, subjecting images and sound to words and external meta-data once more (the archival classification paradigm), but addressing digital images down to the single pixel from within, in their own medium, allowing for random search (apparent disorder as alternative economy of information = the unexpected). The spatial, that is: archival order might thus be accompanied by ‹mapping time,› that is: mapping temporal, dynamic, processual operations which differentiate traditional from electronic works of art. Furthermore, the cartographic paradigm neglects acoustic options of navigating data (a plea for sonification, with sound being itself a time-based aesthetic).

KünstlerInnen / AutorInnen



Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (ZKM)


Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Lorenzstrasse 19, 76135 Karlsruhe, Deutschland

Partner / Sponsoren

Goethe-Institute and the German Ministry of Research and Education BMBF.



Eingabe des Beitrags

, 21.04.2004



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