Last Map

Posted by Rhizome | Mon Jun 9th 1997 1 a.m.

The map of the future is based on regionalism and a constant, living
flow of forms -- a holographic representation of of overlapping
sediments of various group identities such as those of language and
economic class, atop the two dimensional color distinctions among
city-states and the remaining nations, themselves confused in places by
shadows overhead, indicating the power of drug cartels, mafias, and
private security agencies that guard the wealthy in failing states and
hunt down terrorists.

Instead of borders, there would be moving 'centers' of power, as in the
Middle Ages. These power centers would be both national and financial,
reflecting the sovereignty of global corporations. Many of these
holistic layers would be in motion. Replacing fixed and abrupt lines on
a flat space would be a shifting pattern of eco-regions and buffer
entities with additional factors such as growing populations, refugee
migrations, soil and water scarcities, and vectors of disease.

Henceforth the map of the world will never be static; this future map --
in a sense, the 'Last Map' -- will be an ever mutating representation of
cartographic chaos: in some areas benign, or even productive, and in
some areas violent. Because this map will always be changing, it may be
updated, like weather reports, and transmitted daily over the internet
in those places that have reliable electricity or private generators.

On this map, the rules by which diplomats and other policy making elites
have ordered the world these past few hundred years will apply less and
less. Solutions in the main, will have to come from within the affected
cultures themselves. (rk)
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