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There is no such thing as ‘offline’ or ‘online’

Published on
19 Oct 2017
Written by
Mark Graham

This is a topic that both I have other have written about for a while, but wanted to write a quick update with links to two relevant papers for conversations I’m having at AOIR.

The basic argument that I make in the two papers below is that our relationship with geography is never ‘online’ or ‘offline’. Any time we use digital tools and technologies, we are augmenting our world with data or algorithms. Or we are mediating our activities through digital tools. But there is never any ‘space’ that we can transport ourselves into that is ‘online’. Imagining the world that way – with such unhelpful spatial metaphors – distracts us from the grounded material ways in which the digital is embedded in daily practice, augments and mediates spatial practice, is always ‘real’, but never allows us to transcend the messy politics of everyday life.

I articulate this argument in much more detail in these two pieces:

Graham, M., M. Zook., and A. Boulton. 2013. Augmented Reality in Urban Places: contested content and the duplicity of code. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 38(3), 464-479.

Graham, M. 2013. Geography/Internet: Ethereal Alternate Dimensions of Cyberspace or Grounded Augmented Realities? The Geographical Journal 179(2) 177-182.



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