Over the last 5 years since completing my PhD, I have explored my keen interest in the material artifacts of digital media, including infrastructures and cities, and questions of space and place within mobile communications research. I have moved strongly toward these areas while retaining many of the theoretical approaches that guided me through the PhD. Since 2016, I have published a number of single-authored works on these subjects, as you can read below.
In 2018, I completed a major editorial project with Media Theory. The special issue entitled Geospatial memory develops approaches to memory culture and geography by building on existing paradigms in the environmental humanities, film and archival studies, psychogeography, and media archaeology, as well as from textual, visual and sonic approaches to the city.
1.In “Geolocating Popular Memory: Recorded Images of Hashima Island after Skyfall” (Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture, 2018), I significantly enhance one of the examples briefly mentioned in an earlier work (“Geospatial Detritus”) by grappling with efforts to document Japan’s Hashima Island following its appearance in the popular film Skyfall (2012). In this expanded version, I describe how the film’s commercial success led to subsequent efforts by Google to produce images of the island’s built environment using digital navigation technologies, and describe how this effort led the Japanese government to include Hashima Island in a bid to gain UNESCO heritage status for sites of industrialization during the Meiji period. I further analyze how the circulation of images depicting Hashima Island in popular culture has affected continuing efforts to hold Japan accountable for its past injustices. By focusing on the period“after” Skyfall, I connect this geopolitical maneuvering directly to the Google Street View initiative, exploring the latter’s impact on navigation, spatial presence, and heritage.
2. In “Hoskins, A. (Ed.), Digital Memory Studies: Media Pasts in Transition“(New Media & Society, 2018), I review Andrew Hoskins’ volume, breaking new ground with the first explicit articulation of digital memory studies.
3. In “Graham, S. Vertical: The City from Satellites to Bunkers” (PUBLIC, 2018), I review Stephen Graham’s ambitious book on the merits of verticality in geographical and geospatial analysis.
4. In “Geospatial Detritus: Mapping Urban Abandonment” (Routledge, 2016), I examine how digital mapping visualization has helped to transform abandoned cities into motors of sensory experience, sociality and public initiative. By drawing from the work of urban planners, such as Fran Tonkiss’ (2013) concept of “austerity urbanism,” I position demands to mobilize an international tourism industry in relation to equally provocative initiatives to develop and refurbish abandoned cities, highlighting the important role that digital media plays in this refurbishment.
5. In “The Geospatial Rhetoric of Asylum: Mapping Migration in Fortress Europe” (Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA, 2016), I isolate a cluster of connections that exist between geospatial imaging technology and the discourse on users, interfaces and publics, focusing on a German neo-fascist group’s publication of a Google Map containing geolocative information of the country’s asylum houses. I examine how the group’s information gathering tactics reflect long contested relationships between maps, power and the construction of identity, and I question the viability of addressing anti-migrant sentiment by appealing to spatial demands that are historically aligned with social justice initiatives. I further address methodological, historical and theoretical issues. These include: the epistemic assumptions behind rejecting politically motivated maps as propaganda, the logistical or strategic novelties associated with crowdsourcing information, and the narrative power of maps.
6. In “Public Space, Media Space” (Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture, 2016), I review an edited volume by Chris Berry and Rachel Moore.
7. In “Teaching Media Infrastructure through Popular Culture” (Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture, 2017), I describe my pedagogical approach for introducing undergraduates to questions of media infrastructure, and introduce a special mini-volume featuring peer-reviewed versions of my student’s term papers.