GEOGRAPHIES OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY: PROTOTYPING EXPLORATION, EXPERIENCE, AND ACCESS
Keywords:Google Maps, exploration, access, discourse analysis, location awareness
AbstractScrolling through Google Maps application or website, it is difficult to avoid Google Maps’ hallmark promises of explore and experience. From calls to “explore and experience the world”, “discover new experiences”, “find places for you” or “have the confidence to explore, access to experience”, explore and experience (and their iterations of discover, find, and access) command imaginaries of unrestricted entitlement and complete control over one’s personal domain. This Google Maps rhetoric reifies exploration and experience as desirable mobilities without acknowledging the politics they enforce and the relations to space they enact. This paper asks: in these projected geographies of self-assured navigation, who is the prototype that fulfills the fantasy of seamless mobility and unrestricted claims to space? I divide this paper into three sections— Explore, Experience, and Access— to analyze what these modes are, what they are contingent on, who they prioritize and the harms they reinforce and reproduce. In the final section, Access, I address the limits Google Maps claims to space and present a necessary reorientation. I argue that Google Maps’ imperatives to explore, experience, and access space are based on a colonial raced, classed, and ableist prototype—the self-sufficient user. In organizing space around the self-sufficient user, Google Maps extends and entrenches settler colonial dispossession and ableist gatekeeping. Ultimately, Google’s imaginary of untethered exploration— the experience and access it engenders— carries a heavy weight.
How to Cite
Noone, R. (2023). GEOGRAPHIES OF SELF-SUFFICIENCY: PROTOTYPING EXPLORATION, EXPERIENCE, AND ACCESS. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.13063