The projection of the world on this screen is the back face of the Hammer Retroazimuthal. It’s extreme, but serves a simple purpose: a straight line from any point to the centre will be correct along the face of the globe. In order to constitute a straight relationship between two points in space, it seems you have to turn our image of the world almost completely inside out.
This, the second issue of the WSJ, takes human geography and the translation of form as guiding foci, though it deviates, archipelagically, into all sorts of places. Critical geographers such as David Harvey have shown how relations across space (and backwards and forwards in time) echo through politics and culture, and create a hole in the the study of ‘the world’—like the one you’re reading this within—to qualitative and speculative ends.
Translation emerges as an important concept in considering contemporary geography. In computer graphics terms, translation means to move an entity along the x/y/z axis. And we live through translation when we move across geographies—lingual, cultural, formal, etc. We have a series of pieces that involve translations of form, such as Chronox’s recordings of their physical Volume Works from earlier this year, and Naeem Mohaiemen’s Live True Life or Die Trying, a photoessay from two demonstrations on the same day in Bangladesh. These works go towards showing how a translation slips into a cross-pollination, creating new conditions and vantage points for existing things—even (or especially) after the source is inaccessible—a fact that’s likely long been clear to the lingual translator.
Another example is the practice of Dick El Demasiado, the roving artist-DJ and inventor of Experimental Cumbia, which was initiated with the presentation of a legend of its origins at an ethnomusicology conference. “Born a foreigner”, his anarchic spirit exists between cultures. We present a mixtape by Dick and a folktale of his effect by Gavan Blau. (For more music, see Sam Szoke-Burke’s investigation and mixtape of teenage dance music from Lisbon-via-Angola.)
In 2010, Bolivia passed Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, defining Mother Earth as “a collective subject of public interest,” and thus holding inherent rights (such as that of equilibrium and water). Joshua Simon, in Neomaterialism, posits the ‘collective subject’ such as this as an antidotal model to contemporary individualism. In WSJ2, we reprint the Wikipedia article on the Bolivian law.
Online, geography is ostensibly less—and actually more—important than ever: in the everywhere mask of ‘cloud’ data storage which is actually highly location-responsive, with server farms throughout the world; and, around the world’s stock exchanges, the radius of rented computer rooms which by their nearness affords split-split-second response with which to exploit financial glints in the mud. In this mode, Takuji Kogo and Federico Baranello (as *Candy Factory Projects) contribute a series of through-composed online job advertisements in several different languages, and Sean Dockray presents a lecture on the state-funded Facebook data centre in Sweden, asking three friends who influenced the text to re-record the words of the lecture.
Endemic of our island-hopping approach, WSJ2 features pieces on contemporary digital education in the UK and the class-struggle politics inherent in software development best practices. Mike Bulajewski provides a thorough history of Agile, a set of rules for good collaborative computer programming that has also effectively performed as a distributed labour union, without having to colocate or operate on the rails of traditional unionism.
Behind our contents page, we’re livestreaming Channel G in its entirety, a season of experimental television—or a floating world of many participants under a Hirschhorn-style ‘non-shared responsibility’ system of anarchic laconicism led by Sean Peoples; the image signal itself translated into a 640×480 stream physically originating in West Space, beamed from a laptop to Amazon’s EC2 webfarm and then back again.