Surface accretions: prototyping posthumanist learning environments by walking and mapping an immersive cartography

Document Type


Publication details

Rousell, D 2015, 'Surface accretions: prototyping posthumanist learning environments by walking and mapping an immersive cartography', paper presented to VI Conference on New Materialism: transversal practices: matter, ecology and relationality, Melbourne, Victoria, 27-29 September.

Abstract available on Open Access


States and Territories is an artistic and philosophical inquiry which collectively re-imagines university learning environments for the Anthropocene epoch. The project serves to prototype posthumanist learning environments through relational compositions of public art, speculative thought, and hypermedia architecture. This has involved the installation of twelve hypercubes in a topological network which is distributed across the cultural landscapes of a regional university campus. A hypercube can be described, following Deleuze (1992), as an ‘objectile’: a becoming-cube sustained by a vector of autonomous respiration. Each cube installed on the campus projects a second cube around the vicinity of its lines of site/ sight, generating an unfolding oscillation between its interior and exterior surfaces. In simultaneously projecting and containing the learning environment, the hypercubes set the coordinates for an immersive cartography that can be entered, modified and expanded in any direction. The archival inscriptions and gestures of bodies accrete on the manifold surfaces of the cartography, and are collected in the physical and digital repositories located at each site. A transdisciplinary process of anarchiving has also been activated, in which the cartography is re-mapped through and across time to reveal interstitial contact points which are transversal to the longitudes and latitudes of its surfaces. This paper works across the surface accretions of learning environments as haptic interfaces, like geological sediments being sifted by the movement of thought. Rather than unearthing the present, the paper performs an archaeology of the future in which the ruins of the university are rediscovered by a people yet to come.