Principles in Practice: Xarene Eskandar's Mapping in HyperCities
Using HyperCities, a collaborative research and educational platform that uses Google Maps and Earth to create digital cultural maps and geotemporal arguments, UCLA graduate student Xarene Eskandar documented the protests surrounding the 2009 election protests in Iran.
Hypercities describes itself as encouraging forms of "cultural archeology," excavating and preserving otherwise ephemeral flows of information and media (here, primarily culled through social media sites such as Twitter). Eskandar's project doesn't just geographically and temporally track the events surrounding the protests, it gives readers who are likely unfamiliar with the (physical or political) landcape a tangible sense of place and culture.
Notably, Eskandar refers to the project as a "visual narrative" of the events that unfolded in Tehran, one that she plans to continue in a text-based project examining slogans and signs from the protest. This gestures towards a potential instance of transmedia scholarship, in which the media content with Eskandar's map functions as potential migratory cues for future extensions of the project. We might also frame these signs and slogans, and Eskandar's impulse to further examine their origins and meanings as an example of how negative capability functions to produce new textual extensions of a project.
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