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MacDonald, G., 2014.

Bodies Moving and Being Moved: Mapping affect in Christian Nold's Bio Mapping

Output Type:Journal article
Publication:Somatechnics
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
ISBN/ISSN:2044-0138
Volume/Issue:4 (1)
Pagination:pp. 108-132
Repository URL:e-space.mmu.ac.uk/605191

<jats:p> In A History of Spaces (2004), John Pickles observes that one of the less well-known representational norms of mapping is its focus on 'natural and physical objects rather than developing universal conventions dealing with symbol, affect and movement.' New media artist Christian Nold's work has dealt explicitly with two of these cartographic blindspots, grafting new and old technologies that both, in different ways, create bodily traces - the GPS trace of movement and the GSR (galvanic skin response) trace of arousal, often taken as an index of emotional response. Although Nold's socially engaged practice can be placed within the 'locative media' genre it also taps into the technological imaginaries around physiological sensors and intimate data. This paper considers Nold's Bio Mapping (2004-) projects in the context of his longstanding concern with social collectives and public space as a field of social relations. Looking at particular maps from Nold's Bio Mapping project, it considers the implications of blending the traces of the body's internal states with the traces produced by locomotive movement, and the relationship between the individuals thus traced and the collectives that Nold seeks to represent. Concurrent with Nold's practice there has been a wave of interest in affect and emotion (and the distinction between them) within the humanities. This paper brings Nold's work into contact with the Deleuzian/Spinozan concept of affect employed in one strand of this writing, drawing in particular on the work of Brian Massumi. Rather than using theory to simply illustrate Nold's practice, it follows the implications of Deleuze's cartographic model of individuation, the logic of which ultimately problematises the very distinction between the two bodily phenomena traced by Nold's device. </jats:p>