From virtual globes to map blanks. A cartographic immersion in narrating the story of global change
Financeur du programme
Today, the Anthropocene invites us to think of the world as a global reality based on scientific representations that attempt, through the spatialization of information captured in heterogeneous ways, to provide a unified planetary vision of environmental issues. With the digital revolution, these images have multiplied and have become increasingly complex. Between Al Gore's seminal speech "The Digital Earth: Understanding our planet in the 21st Century" in 1998, and the release of Google's1 Timelapse service in April 2021, the use of virtual globes has grown remarkably over the past 20 years. They are an extension of the classic iconographic representations of the world  and are the heirs of both the methods and military viewpoint of modern cartography  and of the geomatic technologies that saw the emergence of spatial data infrastructures  and, more broadly, the geoweb in the mid- 2000s . Omnipresent in documentaries2, scientific reports3, international events4, museums5 or works of fiction, virtual globes thus appear as one of the latest avatars of the mapping of global change. Companies specializing in the processing and design of massive data6 are trying to replicate the "overview effect"7 to make the world aware of the issues at stake amid the current crises. Going beyond mere aesthetic purposes, these images of the Earth seen from space base their authority on publications from international journals and organizations, or through learned societies8 and contribute to shaping our imaginations and the way in which environmental issues are contemplated  and evaluated. Virtual globes are thus invested as much by the political as by the scientific and NGO domains. From an anthropocenic perspective, they tend to supplant planispheres: more synthetic and allowing a continental regionalization of geophysical processes, they favor a holistic vision of what is happening to the Earth as a whole . They establish a new scopic regime through games of manipulation and zooming that allow us to navigate from the planetary level down to local situations.
The objective of the SPHEROGRAPHIA9 project is to propose a critical analysis of these digital artifacts using a two-pronged approach: first, concerning their creation, in order to unravel the sociotechnical processes that participate in the cartographic story of global change and to reveal the disparity of the data underlying such visualizations; and secondly, the decoding of the performativity of these virtual globes on the imaginations and political commitments of those who promote or feed them.
The originality of the project is also methodological. By focusing on the informational capital of territories, the ambition is to combine diversified approaches (discourse analysis, spatial analysis, participant observation, geovisualization, arts/sciences creation) and multiscalar approaches (from globes to terrains) associating geography and geomatics, but also history, semiotics, plastic and digital arts via 3 complementary axes (WP2-3-4). They are completed by the WP5 dedicated to open science which will ensure the dissemination of results in various forms and will involve artists in the coproduction of an exhibition. The WP1 dedicated to project management coordinates the whole
Coordinateurs: Matthieu Noucher
Contributeurs: Alain Sauter, Alice Raymond, Bastien Ribeyre, Brice Trouillet, Béatrice Collignon, Caroline Abela, Caroline Delattre, Claire Cunty, François-Michel Le Tourneau, Françoise Gourmelon, Grégoire Le Campion, Hélène Mathian, Joseph Larralde, Julie Pierson, Laurent Jegou, Laurent Pourinet, Mathias Rouan, Olivier Pissoat, Pablo Salinas Kraljevich, Pierre Gautreau, Pierre-Olivier Mazagol, Sebastian Grevsmuhl, Shadia Kilouchi, Sophie Itey, Thierry Joliveau, Véronique Andre-Lamat, Xavier Amelot
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