Making and mapping space for the dead: the volumetric engineering of bodies and borders

Authors: Cameron Byron*,
Topics: Political Geography, Historical Geography
Keywords: territory; cartography; materiality; immateriality; volume
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 55
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Volumetric terrain, combining materiality and strategy (Elden, 2017) is the meeting of the geophysical and geopolitical. However, questions of how terrain comes to matter as a question of power tend to focus on the intervention of the state, neglecting how diverse ranges of actors, cultures, and intimacies (Jackman et al. 2020) are implicit in the political materiality of territory. This paper addresses how such (im)material considerations are part of the production of terrain and territory for how they dictate the means of calculation and control. This paper focuses on the infrasecular and historical mapping of cemeteries, arguing that maps are modes of terrain that represent the (im)materiality of territory. This paper suggests maps establish, and are established by a framework of political technologies (Elden, 2013) producing strategic, legal, and economic territory. The writing of (im)material boundaries this paper draws attention to shows how the very ‘metrics’ of volume and capacity become mobilised in order to drive value, and impose legal subjectifications to volumetric space. This paper argues that the very dialogue of maps (semiotics and legends) have embodied and affective jurisdictions over the body, writing it both a space of, and practice of territory. This allows maps to act as materials that enforce the governance of space. In this case, how cemetery mappings both make space for the dead, and regulate spatial and bodily capacity, demonstrate how maps become directly concerned with questions of volume, and create representations that place the body directly in question with the formation of territory.

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