A mobility network

Methods and tools After a day and a half of work and fine-tuning, here we go: the commuting network of all individuals either residing, working or studying in the canton Valais. I’ve used R, with the RStudio GUI, and the igraph library for R. My staring point was the mobility matrix between all communes, including […]

Fifty years of orbital tourism

Today, the United States are celebrating the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s orbital flight: three tours of the globe in less than five hours. To mark the occasion, Craig Russell of Space Operations Inc., would have liked to see the mission replayed, but relying on private means only, this time. We get his point, because […]

Foucault’s left-overs and the urban heterostasis

Michel Foucault, in his 1984 essay Des espaces autres (Other Spaces), coins the term “hétérotopie”. He uses it to designate places evolving on the margin of what we could today call the territory of production. Foucault’s heterotopoi are cemeteries, brothels, prisons, boats, psychiatric hospitals… places inhabited by those who’ve either been excluded from society, or […]

Mars as a social question

“Allopatric speciation” occurs when a biological species divides in two distinct populations, due either to the emergence of a natural boundary (river, mountain) or to migration in opposite directions. Over hundreds of generations, the genotypes of both populations evolve on their own until, finally, they become two separate species. For some species of fruit-flies, this […]

Babylon and the City Recipe

Up to the beginning of the 20th century, the Ancient Testament had been the most cited text in societies with Christian heritage when it came to condemning the human hybris and its emblematic spatial figure: the city.  Yet, quite surprisingly, the most anti-urban text contains the perfect set of ingredients to build one. As the […]

The tourist as the main inhabitant of a place

Who’s the real inhabitant of a place? For a long time, population maps have been constructed as if everybody stood still in their homes. Yet leaving this “domostatic” perspective is to geography like opening Pandora’s Box. All objects of any concern to the discipline must then be understood in a dynamic relationship to the rest […]

The Pope, Osama bin Laden and The Crucifix Map

Easter 2011 has been marked by a very particular conjunction of celebrations: the beatification of the body of the Pope John Paul II, preceded by its exhumation the capture and burial in deep sea of the body of Osama Bin Laden. John Paul II’s body has been moved to a marble stone monument in Pier […]

Augmented Reality and the Places of Dreams

Behind the illusion In Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, Klaus Kinski with his eyes buried deep into another world stands on the shore of a river and says: Everyday life is only an illusion behind which lies the reality of dreams This is what the Jivaro Indians reportedly believe. But what Kinski’s character sees is his boat climbing […]

Globalization and the society of diversified consumption: an optimistic view

And what if consumption has superseded itself with the advent of Internet advertisement? Since commercials are now possible on global scale, while being contextually aimed at specific audiences, it becomes less and less interesting to mass-produce for crowds subjugated by manufactured desire for standardized objects. Manufacturing myth, like cars, TV’s or CD players, is no […]