Territory X

Forged from the ones and zeroes of the digital world, what Tom Cohen calls the ‘telepolis’ invokes the idea of a pan-global city comprising the ‘circuitry and data harvesting, screens within screens, social “networks” of hashtags and corporate media-streams’ of the 21st century. Dominic Pettman’s concept of ‘Ecumenopolis’ seems less a whimsical dream than an accurate description of the networked transport made possible today by the streaming of bits: ‘Were I an architect-deity’, he writes, I would create an Escheresque subway system, linking all the cities in the world. The tunnels themselves, and the people decanted from one place to the other, would eventually create an Ecumenopolis: a single and continuous city, enlaced and endless. Flowing in a phantasmatic zone between national and language boundaries, the encompassing nature of the global telepolis puts pressure on our traditional sense of place. Today, one occupies a different relation to the cityscape as the dominant metaphor of the 20th century, not so much from an ‘inside’ or an ‘outside’ but as a site of reading, a site of absorption by letters.


(1) Tom Cohen 'The Telepolis—A Prehistory’, Affirmations: Of the Modern, vol. 2, no. 1, 2014, http://affirmations.arts.unsw.edu.au/index.php?journal=aom&page=article&... accessed 5 November 2016.

(2) Dominic Pettman, In Divisible Cities: A Phanto-Cartographical Missive, Punctum Books, New York, 2013, http://indivisiblecities.com/; accessed 5 November 2016.


Image: Jess Johnson, Hostile Ambient Takeover, 2013, Pen, fibre-tipped markers on paper, 56 x 76 cm, Courtesy of the artist, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney and Ivan Anthony Gallery, Aucland. 

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Sigi Jöttkandt teaches English at UNSW, Sydney. She is the author of Acting Beautifully: Henry James and the Ethical Aesthetic (2005), and of First Love: A Phenomenology of the One (2010). Sigi has published widely on psychoanalysis and literature and has edited S: Journal of the Circle for Lacanian Ideology Critique (www.lineofbeauty.orgsince 2008She is also a co-founding Director of Open Humanities Press (http://openhumanitiespress.org/).

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