Terra Incognita

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“When we storm forward and climb out of the trenches, we see the empty, unknown land in front of us where death goes about its business […] it appears as if a new dimension has opened up to us. Then we suddenly see up close, […] what awaits us in the land of the dead: the enemy. That is an unforgettable moment.” – Ernst Jünger (Kittler, 132)
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The Unknown (Hic Sunt Dracones)

The acquisition of knowledge and the need to know has been a main reason for expeditions in search of unknown land in history. The map used to be something that was in flux, there were still bodies of land to be discovered and rendered back onto the map. The map as evidence of rationality and legibility exhibited gaps and lacunaes of unknown spaces. Expeditions sought to fill in all of the missing spaces and complete and solidify the scientific reason proposed by the map and reassert its legitimacy. The gaps undermine the authority of maps and name it as something unstable. Myth says that maps used to be marked with the phrase “hic sunt dracones” or “here be dragons”on unknown areas, emphasizing the fear and intrigue induced by the unknown not to mention its presence as a threat, a threat to knowledge, rationality, and authority. The unknown destabilizes the archive and the ability to have an archive and to file.