Going deeper or flatter: connecting deep mapping, flat ontologies and the democratizing of knowledge

Selina Springett

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The concept of "deep mapping", as an approach to place, has been deployed as both a descriptor of a specific suite of creative works and as a set of aesthetic practices. While its definition has been amorphous and adaptive, a number of distinct, yet related, manifestations identify as, or have been identified by, the term. In recent times, it has garnered attention beyond literary discourse, particularly within the "spatial" turn of representation in the humanities and as a result of expanded platforms of data presentation. This paper takes a brief look at the practice of "deep mapping", considering it as a consciously performative act and tracing a number of its various manifestations. It explores how deep mapping is a reflection of epistemological trends in ontological practices of connectivity and the "flattening" of knowledge systems. In particular those put forward by post structural and cultural theorists, such as Bruno Latour, Gilles Deleuze, and Felix Guattari, as well as by theorists who associate with speculative realism. The concept of deep mapping as an aesthetic, methodological, and ideological tool, enables an approach to place that democratizes knowledge by crossing temporal, spatial, and disciplinary boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-636
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • deep mapping
  • performativity
  • flat ontology
  • actor network theory
  • speculative realism
  • object oriented ontology
  • urban rivers
  • creative practice


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