Locative Media and Interaction

Hunter Gatherer, mobile participatory media as geo-art-cache by Jackie Calderwood/ Remotely Connected, Remotely Creative by Tracey Maree Meziane Benson/ Motion in Place Platform by Kirk Woolford/ E-TOWER: Ludic Urban Experience Through Reactive Architecture and Personal Mobile Devices by David Robert Colangelo and Patricio Davila
Tuesday, 20 September, 2011 - 14:45 - 16:25
Chair Person: 
Raivo Kelomees
Jackie Calderwood
Tracey Meziane Benson
Kirk Woolford
Dave Colangelo
Patricio Davila

Hunter Gatherer, mobile participatory media as geo-art-cache

by Jackie Calderwood

This paper discusses work commissioned by Chrysalis Arts, for a participatory locative media artwork in the North Yorkshire Dales, UK, as part of the Geo Art Cache project launching for visitors in May 2011. Combining locative media, context aware platforms and new forms of ‘experience design’, the work interrogates potential of pervasive media and experimental participatory methods to augment traditional geo-cache; to  appeal to a diverse target audience of artists, geo-cache community and visitors to the national park.

The commission develops ideas from the author’s innovative practice with filmmaking mediascapes, in which the route taken by walkers exploring the landscape informs a unique composition of site-specific sound and image, triggered by GPS, played back on hand-held devices during the walk. Traces of walks and the resultant short films are collated in an online gallery celebrating the diversity of individual experience, improvised within the whole.

Investigations will be presented exploring personal response to landscape, gathered in order to further customise locative media playback. Experiments combine subjective mapping, environmental response colour grids and symbolic landscape (drawing on David Grove’s therapeutic questioning technique, Clean Language). Creative transdisciplinary methods feed into the design of the geo art and user interaction with the cache. Motivation for user collaboration, drift, hunting and gathering, are explored.

Three considered approaches for creative public engagement will be outlined, with a discussion of the decisions made, final form and content of the project, and an evaluation of the challenges, success and opportunities presented through development of the work.

These approaches are: user-generated content through a preliminary workshop facilitating creative and synaesthetic responses (participatory arts), dynamic interaction of geo cache ‘hunters’ (experimental walks) and collaborative online documentary (web gallery/social media).

Technical challenges, platforms used, public response and artistic issues around participatory locative media will be explored. The work will be positioned within the transdisciplinary theoretical framework of the author’s PhD research and thesis, with specific reference to creative improvisation and way-making (Ingold), technicity and individuation (Stiegler), narratology and the visual (Bal), metaphor (Lakoff, Casasanto, Tompkins & Lawley), transdisciplinary theory (Nicolescu) and creative participation (Robinson, Bishop).

Remotely Connected, Remotely Creative

by Tracey Maree Meziane Benson

What does locative media from remote Australian Indigenous communities look like? How does access to Next G mobile phones impact remote communities communications? What media is being created on these devices?

This paper is an analysis of some of the ad hoc strategies and technologies being used in remote and rural in Australia to leapfrog the digital divide; and an analysis of the potential to introduce tools and processes that encourage creative development and cultural engagement that is both iterative and participatory.

Despite Australia’s position as an industrialised nation, there are still significant limitations to broadband access in regional and remote locations. This scenario presents as a challenge as well as an opportunity for residents. Many people living in these areas have worked around the lack of access to broadband in a range of creative ways, especially by the use of Next G mobile phone technology.

There is much talk of ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and this initiative has implications on a range of issues, most significantly access to health and education services. But what is emerging as an interesting phenomenon is how young people in remote Indigenous communities are engaging with mobile technology as a means to access the Internet as well as communicate with friends and family.

These will be a number of examples presented of works created collaboratively with young people from remote communities and documentation of the project, which was aimed at skills development and transfer and creative expression.

Motion in Place Platform

by Kirk Woolford

The Motion in Place Platform brings together a cross-disciplinary group to develop new technologies allowing researchers to move out of the studio,to map and measure the human experience and response when moving through places. The video clip above shows an expert archaeologist working on summer dig. The MiPP team captured this data over the 2010 season at the Silchester Roman site.

Over centuries, societies have built up a wealth of written knowledge of human behaviour and emotion in response to specific environments. Such narratives are, however, subjective and not necessarily quantifiable. At the same time, the physical study of a site or the cataloguing of material objects often falls short of capturing the human experience of a site. In an effort to develop new tools for recording and articulating the human physical and emotional response to specific environments, the Motion in Place Platform (MiPP) is developing technologies and research strategies to enable the study of how people understand a site by moving through it.



E-TOWER: Ludic Urban Experience Through Reactive Architecture and Personal Mobile Devices

by David Robert Colangelo and Patricio Davila

Large media facades, reactive architecture, geo-tagging and location aware mobile devices represent a privileged confluence – a fluid, digital layer that permeates the city and in turn makes existing physical structures permeable. In an act of research creation, E-TOWER (www.etower.ca) engaged this
architectural permeability by transforming the CN Tower – until 2007 the world’s tallest free-standing structure – into a beacon for the city’s “energy” by allowing participants of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2010 to text the word “energy” and additional comments to a number provided in order to activate
faster and brighter animations on the tower’s LED light system. E-TOWER enabled highly visible, distributed participation in public space using mobile phones and reactive architecture as part of a larger experiment in re-imagining and augmenting social practices and public encounters by inscribing cooperation and collective play into urban subjectivity. An overview of relational architecture, urban screen, and projection based artistic and cultural interventions in public space that led to the development of E-TOWER is included. The ingredients of technoculture in the age of supermodernity –
urban space, projectors, walls, computers, mobile devices, LEDs – mixed together in the correct proportions, allow for rich interaction, and a reflection on community, subjectivity, and place – the very opposite of the distracting and distancing effects they have in more commercial contexts. Architects,
new media artists, governments, and other stakeholders can capitalize on these emergent properties of architecture and urban space by creating dynamic, hybrid spaces that provide, collect, process, and display information and re-inscribe collective identity and play in public space.