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One last link

I wonder if anyone is still reading this blog now? Anyway, one last post, just a link that made me smile.

Some art just makes me love the world:

— Sarah


Spatial Theory Curiosities: A Grab Bag

Considering tomorrow is the last day of spatial theory class, I figured it was about time to get around to posting curiosities that I’ve collected throughout the term but have otherwise forgotten to post or ran into technical difficulties with. I attempted to post a number of these last week, but for some reason WordPress decided to eat my post after it was submitted for review.

Surveillance and Society

Since surveillance has been such a prevalent topic in our class, I figured some people might find this online journal useful. In my own studies, I’ve culled a great number of useful articles from this peer-reviewed, free-access journal, using them for both research and inspiration in terms of engaging surveillance studies. They are currently in a transition process, with newer articles on the new website, and back issues that have not been transferred yet remaining in the old one. Each issue is typically arranged around a particular topic of surveillance and includes research (sociological, psychological, political science, cultural studies, etc.), editorials, opinion pieces and even the occasional creative work.

As a starting-point for discussion in my group, I made a .zip file of all the articles I though were the most relevant to the Waterloo Watchmen initiative. You can download the files from the link below. Hopefully they might help others as to fill in any missing theory in their final paper.


Oakland Crimespotting

This website combines new media and spatial mapping to provide a resource for community-run surveillance as well as counter-surveillance of policing. It employs the flexibility provided by the Internet to allow people to create a dynamic, flexible and collaborative representation of surveillance and crime in their area. This aggregation of surveillance data allows Oakland residents to have current and non-externally selected (i.e. not just what the news reports) understanding of crime in their area, allowing them to view crime patterns as they are associated with spaces. Moreover, exploiting the connectivity of new medias, the website provides for RSS feeds and alerts sent to people’s cell phones, giving them up to the minute information. While it certainly feeds into a Panoptic structure, it shows ownership of the Panopticon instead of mere subjection to it. It stands as an interesting representation in digital terms of how disciplinary societies function.


Jacques Derrida’s “Fear of Writing”

I thought that this video, while not about space, was incredibly appropriate for describing the feeling of writing the chora essay. Guessing how primary Derrida was to so many of our papers, thought it was rather appropriate. Hopefully few are experiencing such angst with our final paper. Good for a laugh at least.


Cursed’s “Into The Hive”

Since we began the first class talking about Le Corbusier, this song has been on my mind. Written by the as-of-recently defunct hardcore punk band Cursed, who are southern Ontario residents I might add, it appeared on their last album, “III”. While obviously some complexity is lost when words have to be yelled in the face of sweaty teenagers, I think Collohan’s lyrics here actually aptly engage with notions of how spatiality and architecture play a significant role in social hegemony, alienation and the extraction of economic capital. You’ll notice themes from Foucault and Marx here. But hey, we’re talking about an album that has another song called “Hegel’s Bastards.” These guys know their stuff.

As taken from the writer himself, all bizarre punctuation left in tact.

“Into The Hive

What i got, you need in. This is the future, son. Stake your claim, it’s almost gone. It’s gonna be beautiful, gonna reach the sky & more. There’s gold in them there walls. We’re tearing down all the neighborhoods, making room for designer skylines, so the lives in the underpass can be left in the dust by a whole new crowd. Units still available, primed for success. Your life in 500 square feet or less. And it’s self-contained. And it’s all the same. And only steps away from a city that you’ll never see, And every ugly abomination that the billboard never mentioned but whose problem, whose life, whose city is that? Show me a man with that much faith in concrete and I’ll show you every self-starter that ever put torch to building. Every towering inferno lying in wait. Show me your city plans, I’ll show you angry hands Selling the urban dream one locked door at a time. And this is what Air Conditioned Nightmares are made of, The architecture of isolation. What i got, you need in. This is the future, son. Stake your claim, it’s almost gone. It’s gonna be beautiful, gonna reach the sky & more. There’s gold in them there walls. Compartmentalized. Headlong into the hive. City plans that eat you alive.”

For anyone interested in hearing the album in all its abrasive glory, you can download it here:

However, defunct or not, I would still encourage you to purchase the album if you enjoy it. These guys had a rough go of it when they were together, despite widespread respect within the hardcore scene.


Finally, continuing the intersection of theories from our class and music, I thought I should share one final curiosity. Having scoured the Internet for electronic copies of Sadie Plant’s work, I was unsuccessful. However, what I did find, and what I feel compelled to share here so that it is not lost to the Internet ether is an interesting and often funny lecture delivered by Plant in the 1990’s about Situationism and its connection to techno music culture in England.

Download link:

– Bryn

City of Words – St. Petersburg

I came across an extremely neat map today in the New Yorker which has finally put psychogeography in a relatable perspective for me – a literary map of my hometown, St. Petersburg, Russia, made up entirely of the words of its poets and writers, many of them embedded in my mind and my understanding of the city:

(perhaps my favourite quote, upper left – “the most abstract and artificial city in the world”)

Ironically it’s psychogeography that was a bit abstract and artificial to me throughout this course to be honest. I think part of it has to do with the fact that the way we engaged space in the course and the kind of space we engaged has really been difficult for me to relate to. I’ve never been to Paris. I’ve traveled little in my life. And I still don’t quite understand North American urban space. The map, meanwhile, puts a lot of this in perspective – where Kitchener/Waterloo and North American urban space in general for me are a map of melancholia, St. Petersburg is a kind of deep, sublimely interesting depression – in many ways a sublime city to the mind of someone raised within its cultural traditions.

Some rather chilling coincidences with my own personal mapping of the city – the location where I was born has the word “Child” across it. Vasilievsky Island, where I was born and lived most of my life, is both very prominently positioned and often referenced in words. But most interesting is perhaps the way death permeates a lot of the language on the map – much as it does the entire city’s mythology and  history.

And in any case, a very neat map. It speaks to me as a long-time resident of that place and a reader of that literature.

The Tsilaerrus Project

Hello all,

Seeing as our caches are not likely to survive very long, we thought we should post our photographs of them. The pictures are taken from the angle you would need to get your head at to properly view the clues (some are easier to access than others).

If you want to try to find them, the website for the first location is (that one will be a freebie).

Location 1

Location 2

Location 3

Location 4

Location 5

– Laura, Emily and Bob Log-In Information

I have created a class account on the website. Feel free to use the following information:

User Name: spatialtheory

PW: marcelogorman


Happy Hunting!


“The Literal Value of Detournement”

One of the appropriated caches in our treasure-hunt cache project is this one. (You will need to be logged in to the GeoCache website to access the co-ordinates, but registration is quick, free and painless, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten any spam from them).

There are nine such caches, each one leading to the next, and each one containing a URL that both contains more information about the repurposed space that particular cache is in, as well as tells you where the next one is. In addition, on that site, you’ll find a portion of the URL for the final, ultimate, SUPER-SECRET tenth cache. You need to visit all nine caches to get the whole URL for the final cache.

One last thing: when writing out the URL for the cache’s site in each of the booklets, I made an error: the beginning of each URL starts http://theocaching/****.html — but that’s impossible. It’s — with a dot, not a slash. Sorry about that. Just keep that in mind and you’ll be fine.

— Sarah

Sound/Space: Auditory Illusions

I came across these links much to my late-night delight yesterday, as they are both an entertaining reprieve from note-typing and engage what we were talking about during Laura’s presentation. Get your headphones ready.

Auditory illusions are just what they sound like: similar to optical illusions, they are simple techniques that play on tricks of cognition to produce hallucinatory effects.

This first link is sparing on the information, but has too startlingly effective examples: the virtual haircut and the matchbox.

Auditory Illusions

While I wouldn’t go so far as to argue decree hearing as the primary sense for understanding spatiality yet, I feel like these illusions make a pretty good argument for it.

This second link “Five Great Auditory Illusions” has a few spatial ones (with a repeat of the popular virtual haircut) that pose some interesting questions. Consider the second one, “Phantom Words” – I have yet to do it as I don’t have the proper setup in my room, but apparently the repetition of words in projected into different spatial locations in the room allows your brain to create coherent meanings out of the random sea of words, with some suggestion that your own inclinations have an effect of producing meaning, your schema guiding the collection and assemblage of the randomized words. It might be interesting to pursue what role spatiality performs in constructing meaning out of sound.

There are also a couple music-oriented illusions there that while not wholly connected to spatial theory, are nonetheless terrifying and interesting to see hear easily your brain can be tricked.

– Bryn