terra incognita

terra incognita

ATOPIA :: polylogic e-zine
Vom - Bis
15.05.2005 -
Emanuel Alloa, Freie Universität Berlin


For a long time, regions unknown to the civilized world were densely populated by monsters, troglodytes or mythical beings. When the exploration era began, these regions were rapidly depopulated. In 1375, Abraham Cresques published his famous Catalan Atlas showing a wide blank stripe. Its caption was as simple as it was frightening: “terra incognita” – both a menace and a challenge to any mariner. For centuries, “terra cognita” and “terra incognita” coexisted within the same spatial coordinates, until it turned out that the mass to the south of the known world – “terra australis incognita” as it was known to the Ancients - wasn’t the counterweight of the northern world populated by another species of man. With polar expeditions, the void on the map ultimately came to coincide with the white surface of the Antarctic. Now that the terrae incognitae have been entirely engulfed by the meridians of the known, there seems to be little space left for exploration.

What was the story of these unknown spaces? Which new landfalls are possible, what new practices of partitioning are available? Some web-pioneers have decreed the Net to be the last terra incognita. ATOPIA 8 will look for unoccupied zones, unfamiliar territories, unfurling a path between concrete and imaginary, political and poetical mappings, while obeying the rule of any explorer: follow the river, going upstream from the coast. As no terra incognita is homogeneous, it has its arteries too. We thus welcome submissions for papers approaching the subject “Terra incognita” from a historical, philosophical, literary, artistic or political point of view. Please send in a brief proposal (max 500 characters) to atopia (at)atopia(dot)tk by June 30th 2005. Final contribution can be submitted in English, German, French, Spanish or Italian and should not exceed 15.000 characters.



ATOPIA Editorial Board
atopia :: polylogic e-zine