christine_finn's picture
Archaeologist; Journalist; Author, Artifacts, Past Poetic

While our minds have been engaging with intangibles of the virtual world, where will our real bodies be taking us on planet earth, compassed with these new perspectives?

Today we are fluent at engaging with the 'other' side of the world. We chart a paradox of scale; from the extra-terrestriall to the international. Those places we call home are both intimately bounded and digitally exposed. Our observation requires a new grammar of both voyager and voyeur.

The generation growing up with both digital maps and terrestrial globes will have the technological means to shake up our orthodoxies, at the very moment that we need to be aware of every last sprawling suburb and shifting sandbank.

Our brave new map of the world is evolving as one created by us as individuals, as much as one which is geographically verifiable by a team of scientists. It will continue to be a mixture of landscapes mapped over centuries, and of unbounded digital terrains. One charted in  well-thumbed atlases in libraries, and by global positioning systems prodded by fingers on the go. Armchair travellers gathering souvenirs through technology, knowing no bounds; a geography of personal space, extended by virtual reality; a sense of place plotted by chats over garden fences, as much as instant messaging exchanged between our digital selves across time zones drawn up in the steam age. 

What will not change is our love for adventure. We will not lose our propensity to explore beyond our own horizons and to re-explore those at home. Our innate curiosity will be as relevant in the digital age as it was to the early Pacific colonisers, to 17th-century merchants heading east from Europe, and America's west-drawn pioneers.

Our primaeval wanderlust will continue in meanderings off the path, and these are as necessary for our physical selves as the day dreams that bring forth innovation. We develop ways to secure our co-ordinates while also straining at the leash. And our maps move with us.

Dislocation is good. Take a traditional map of the world. Cut it in half. Bring the old Oceanic edges together, and look what happens to the Pacific.

Seeing the world differently changes everything.