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Less Remote 1: Notions of space

The Less Remote symposium is under way at the International Astronautical Congress in Glasgow, with the first session ‘The Introspective Urge’ which is considering social and cultural understandings of the notion of space, with a particular geographical slant. Cultural geographer Fraser MacDonald spoke of the end of the quintessential human question “Where am I?” in the age of GPS and the geopolitics of lower earth orbit. Digital architect Chris Speed contested the proposition (often heard in the space community) that the ‘overview effect’ will somehow benefit humanity in itself and explored the disconnect between the use of earth visualisation technologies and our on-the-ground understanding of our social, global environment. Architect Catharina Gabrielsson considered the duality of the Western concept of space as ‘outer space’ and a built architectural space. Currently a rather enjoyable exchange is being held on the appropriation of the space term ‘utilisation’ for the new encroachment by the artistic and cultural community into this domain.

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