Landscapes of Global Capital
tv globe icon link to home Abstraction and deterritorialization

Abstraction is standard operating procedure on television, especially so in advertising where the cost of time is so great that messages must be compressed and abbreviated into highly charged signifiers, or masses of meaning. As John Berger demonstrates, there is always a discontinuous moment in photography; the moment frozen in time must be remotivated - that is, its meaning must be redirected. Along an axis of abstraction-context, we can evaluate every photograph. What we are able to observe historically is that the tendency in television advertising is toward greater and greater time-compression. This tends to push abstraction as a tool further and further.

We have returned to this matter over and over throughout these studies - advertising abstracts from real relationships existing in the real world in order to create labels, brands, signs. In our commodity culture, nothing is immune from being converted into an abstraction that serves another end.

Just as culture is abstracted (see the section on cultural geography), so is territory and the landscape of territory - the landscape of land itself. Questions of deterritorialization have been with us since the advent of the postmodern era. Indeed, prior to it even. Modernism has been an assault on territory - its technologies of high speed transportation and high speed communication aim to transcend the geographical limits of territory and the barriers of time.

The digital era, above all else, promises to make territory obsolete.

What then is deterritorialization?

Abstraction & Deterritorialization
Cultural Geography
The Architecture of Capital

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Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey