Contemporary borders operate in ways that are more complex than in the past. They have variously been conceptualised as porous, shifting and solidified. Where a border may be open for some, for others it is an impenetrable wall. Combined with the mobility of geopolitical territorial formations that operate beyond legal frameworks, the very concept and legality of the border is being radically questioned by socio-political phenomena. Such phenomena range from the formation of ISIS to the situation in Europe where states are opening and closing their borders against agreed treaties. We need new ways to make sense of these increasingly complex spaces.
Producing visual counter-geographies at border sites
Topological Atlas develops a methodology for mapping, analysing and intervening in border areas in the form of a digital atlas. It combines digital technologies with a participative approach that attends to those who are at the margins of traditional geopolitical inquiry. The project uses topology as conceptual framework and methodology to make maps that produce 'seamless transitions' from the space of the migrant to that of the security apparatus that creates barriers to her movement. In doing so it seeks to disrupt the cartographic norms that are being reinforced through the prevalence of GIS technology and mapping platforms such as Google Earth. It investigates forms of visual and co-produced research adapted to situations of crisis and proposes a new model for researching border areas beyond the current top-down international relations or security perspective.