Category Archives: GPS

Modelab, Ghost Walker (2014-15)

“Like photography negatives, urban design comprises information on what is not visible and only can be inferred by its contours. In this manner, urban geography becomes a catalogue of defeats and absences that can be interpreted from what once existed.

Based on Mexico City maps from 1867 and 1892, superposed on a 2014 Google map of the Juarez and Cuauhtémoc neighbourhoods, this project seeks to create an appropriation of histories through an artistic and scholar exploration of a specific street that ceased to exist more than a century ago.

Following the techniques of the Situationist’s dérive and Andrei Monastyrsky’s work with the Collective Actions Group, Ghost Walker: An Impossible Walk Through Mexico City’s History is a longitudinal study of a specific urban space, witness of a myriad of processes and modifications throughout 150 years

Ghost Walker (2014-15) has been presented at Muca Roma in Mexico City (2016), and as part of the group exhibition “Walk With Us” at the Rochester Arts Center (2022).

Participants: Sandra Calvo, Ramiro Chaves, Erick Meyenberg, Raul Ortega Ayala, Sergio Miranda Pacheco, Manuel Rocha Iturbide, Modelab.

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Modelab is an artistic initiative aiming to promote interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of public space, history, and cartography.

Formed in 2014 by Claudia Arozqueta and Rodrigo Azaola, Modelab projects have taken place in streets, parks, billboards, beaches, museums, vacant retail stores, and other spaces in Australia, New Zealand, France, Mexico, Taiwan, and the Philippines.” (credit)

Omar Mismar, The Path of Love Series

“For a period of 30 days, I took a walk every day, navigating the city using Grindr, a geo-location gay mobile app that tells the users the vicinity of gay men around them. Each day I picked a man I desired, and tried to get as close as possible to him using the app. I kept a record of my routes and traced them into paths.” (credit)

Jeremy Wood, My Ghost (2000-2016)

“The qualities of our journeys are as subtle as the strokes of a pencil.
Our travels are textured as we squiggle on foot, dither at junctions, speed along motorways, and fly through air corridors.

For fifteen years I’ve record all my journeys with GPS to map where I have been and how I got there. It is a form of personal cartography that documents my life as visual journal.

Our journeys are shaped by the rules of the landscape. We route along engineered solutions as defined by paths and boundaries that tweak and tamper with our travels. At a time when it’s getting harder to experience the feeling of being lost perhaps we should try and stray away from recommended routes.” (credit)

“Jeremy Wood is an artist and mapmaker whose work is an expression of the poetry and politics of space. For over a decade he has been exploring GPS satellite technology as a tool for digital mark making on water, over land, and in the air.

Wood started GPS drawing to investigate the expressive qualities of digitally tracing his daily movements. His work binds the arts and sciences by using languages of drawing and technology to present a personal cartography. By revealing ones tracks the technology can introduce new approaches to travel, navigation and local awareness. GPS drawing engages a range of creative applications and challenges perceptions of scale by travelling as a geodetic pencil.

Wood specialises in public artworks and commissions with an original approach to the reading and writing of places. His work is exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collection of the London Transport Museum, the V&A, and the University of the Arts in London.” (credit)

Catherine D’Ignazio, It takes 154,000 breaths to evacuate Boston (2007-9)

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“Catherine D’Ignazio ran the entire evacuation route system in Boston and attempted to measure the distance in human breath. The project also involves a podcast and a sculptural installation of the archive of tens of thousands of breaths .

The project is an attempt to measure our post-9/11 collective fear in the individual breaths that it takes to traverse these new geographies of insecurity.

The $827,500 Boston emergency evacuation system was installed in 2006 to demonstrate the city’s preparedness for evacuating people in snowstorms, hurricanes, infrastructure failures, fires and/or terrorist attacks.

It takes 154,000 breaths to evacuate Boston consists of:

  1. a series of running performances in public space (2007)
  2. a web podcast of breaths (2007)
  3. a sculptural installation of the archive of breaths (2008)

Website & Podcast

Project Website: www.evacuateboston.com

Archive of Breaths (sculptural piece)

Medium: custom-made table, 26 jars, 26 speaker components, wire, 13 CD players
Dimensions: 45″x72″x16″

I created a sculptural & audio archive of the collection of breaths. There are 26 jars on a custom-made table which correspond to the 26 runs it took to cover the evacuation routes. Each jar size corresponds to the number of breaths from that run. The speaker inside the jar plays the breaths collected from that run. (Better documentation coming soon)

This piece is on view in Experimental Geography, a traveling show curated by Nato Thompson and produced by ICI.

Robin Hewlet and Ben Kinsley, Street With a View (2008)

Google street view photos

Hewlett and Kinsley invited the Google Inc. Street View team and residents of Pittsburgh’s Northside to collaborate on a series of tableaux along Sampsonia Way.

Technicians captured 360-degree photographs of the scenes in action and integrated the images into Street View.

Walter De Maria, Las Vegas Piece (1969)

Walter De Maria (1935-2013)

“A large, simple etching on the earth, made with four shallow cuts from the six foot blade of bulldozer, two one mile long, two a half mile long, forming a square with half mile lines extending from it. Made in 1969 by the artist Walter de Maria, in a remote location north of Las Vegas, the piece was not maintained, and is only faintly visible today, to some.” [credit]

“The question is not whether you can visit Walter De Maria’s Leaving Las Vegas; the question is, does it still exist?
Already in 1972 when discussing the land art project with Paul Cummings, Walter de Maria seemed to emphasize the difficulty of actually experiencing Las Vegas Piece as part of the actual experience of Las Vegas Piece. He’d graded a mile-long square onto a barren desert valley north of the city, and you’d have little chance of even finding it, much less seeing it, much less seeing it all:

it takes you about 2 or 3 hours to drive out to the valley and there is nothing in this valley except a cattle corral somewhere in the back of the valley. Then it takes you 20 minutes to walk off the road to get to the sculpture, so some people have missed it, have lost it. Then, when you hit this sculpture which is a mile long line cut with a bulldozer, at that point you have a choice of walking either east or west. If you walk east you hit a dead end; if you walk west you hit another road, at another point, you hit another line and you actually have a choice.

And on and on for several hours, until your choices and backtracking end in some combination of experiencing the entire sculpture on the ground; declaring victory or defeat partway through; and dying of exposure in the desert because you can’t find your car.” [credit]

Heath Bunting and Kayle Brandon, D’Fence Cuts (2001)

“Heath Bunting emerged from the 1980s art scene committed to building open, democratic communications systems and social contexts. Throughout his career, he has explored multiple media including graffiti and performance art and has staged numerous interventionist projects, as well as being a pioneer in the field of Internet Art. Bunting began collaborating with artist Kyle Brandon in 2001.” [credit]

These artists devised a circular tour (see map), and by night stealthily cut some fences as part of their Borderxing project. BorderXing serves as a pratical guide to crossing major international borders, legally or illegally. It was a type of physical hacking of space, cutting anything that impeded their walk – D’Fence Cuts. Below is an excerpt from their tour de fence catalog:

“tour de fence is the answer to your real needs. while the internet promised to level out all barriers, tour de fence enables you to surmount the fences out there that people erect to obstruct your way every day. from wire netting to ru­ stic fence, from steel door to close security system, tour de fence offers you the necessary know-how for unhampered movement. tour de fence is the direct way.

learn offroad mobility within high security architecture. cross over stretches of land in the right direction. penetrate the underground area of your city. tour de fence puts an end to the relocation of your movements into virtual space. use the tour de fence! become a tour de fence amateur team. pass this handbook on to others. propagate tour de fence.

by doing so you will become part of the international tour de fence community. as a reader, a free-climber or by sending one of the 24 tour de fence postcard in this book.

participate now! tour de fence’s vision is to do what we want.

tour de fence acknowledges fence as metaphor for private property. fence as a supposedly temporary, often mobile barrier performing functions of inclusion and exclusion, entrapment and guided freedom, decoration, safety, user boun­ dary, protection from hazard, flow control, visual screening and user separation.

fence is a permeable filter system defining permitted use and users. light, wind, insects, water, plants and sound pass unhindered while high order life forms such as·humans, fish, cattle and cars are engaged:

development of fence.

up to now the vertical has generally been private while the horizontal public. increasingly, vertical fences are being rotated to the horizontal and enlarged over large areas of land, as all use and users are embraced in total control.

tour de fence recognises the transformation of framed freedom into restricted open-range roaming; the re-alignment of unknown possibilities into known re­ peatables. users are permitted to skate across flattened surface of fence, but not to pass through – the fence is everywhere.” (credit)

Amanda Heng, I Walk from the South to the North (2017)

This work saw Heng travelling alone on foot from Clifford Pier to the Causeway checkpoint in Woodlands. This solo walk continued Amanda’s interest in rituals, exchanges and their relationship with live performance in daily life.

“Heng has been a central figure in Singaporean performance art as well as feminist discourse in Singapore since the 1980s.

In 2017, Heng performed “I Walk From The South To The North” which constitutes a series of daily walks spanning the duration of two months (September – November). … From my perspective, this work is a comment on the breakneck speed at which Singapore develops. Bridges, skyscrapers and entire parks are built in the span of a few months. The urban landscape morphs and mutates unforgivingly. How do people hold on to memory and history?

It also reads to me as a reflection on technology and how we wield it in our contemporary lives to ‘make lives easier’. Singapore is a technologically advanced country with a highly comprehensive transport system. What is the point of walking anywhere anymore? Smartphones are ubiquitous, Google Maps is the most sensible mode of navigation. What is the point of talking to anyone, asking for directions anymore? Heng’s work brings focus back to the physical and social nature of the body and sheds light on the effects which technology has on that.

Could you tell us a bit more about your most recent walk from Clifford Pier to the Causeway which you took from September to November 2017?

It is titled “I Walk from the South to the North”. The participation is a little different from my previous walks. I deliberately do not get myself acquainted with the route so I start to ask around for directions so where I go depends entirely on who I chance upon and how forthcoming they are. I’d get these people to draw out maps or write out directions and these form part of the documentation for this project. Many people I approached were generous with their help and were surprised I wanted to walk so far. They kept insisting it was much faster to take the MRT nearby.” [credit]

 

Tim Knowles “From Windwalk – Seven Walks from Seven Dials” 2009

multimedia installation: helmet, sail, wall drawing and monitor

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“Tim Knowles creates photographs, films and abstract drawings by undertaking walks. Knowles’s working methods are deliberately improbable, idiosyncratic and inventive. He makes use of chance in innumerable ways, ensuring that the outcome of each walk is unknown in advance. As the critic Jessica Lack has written in The Guardian, 11 June 2009, his works are “generated by apparatus, mechanisms, systems and processes beyond the artist’s control”. They are “akin to scientific experimentation, where a situation is engineered in which the outcome is unpredictable. There is a poetry, English eccentricity and wit to the work”.

For ‘Walk On’ Tim Knowles presents an excerpt of a larger work, showing one of a series of seven walks made from Seven Dials, London. Each of these walks is guided solely by the wind as Knowles steadfastly follows a windvane mounted on a helmet worn on his head. He has no ability to affect the windvane and simply acts as a servant to the system he has devised. The wind takes him on a meandering route, at times blown directly down a street, at others caught in eddies repeatedly circling on street corners or joining the city’s other debris down some cul de sac. His meandering path collides with the rigid structure of the city; his route tracing out buildings, railings, ventilation shafts, parked vehicles and other boundaries. Knowles devises a new method of exploring the city and reveals how the wind moves through and is shaped by its structure.”

plan b “All GPS traces in Berlin in 2011-2012” 2012

a map

plan b

two people tracing

plan b

[credit]

plan b is the name that Sophia New and Daniel Belasco Rogers take when working collaboratively as artists. They are amongst the leading figures to engage with GPS technologies since their widespread availability over the last decade or more. Their practice is based on both walking and on data collection including, most notably, their GPS traces. Rogers has tracked every single one of his journeys for a whole decade. New has done the same since 2007. On several occasions they have exhibited an entire year’s worth of traces in one space, effectively making every action they take become public knowledge.

Such actions present ethical problems for us, as much as for the artists. The viewer becomes privy to the artist’s habits and, hence, inner life. If information about apparently innocuous activity such as walking through one’s own city can be timed, monitored and recorded by an artist, such information can easily be known by technology providers and sold to others. Those who might want to observe, redirect, restrict or control our behaviour have new ways of doing so. Most recently, plan b have engraved a whole year’s worth of GPS data onto a transparent acrylic sheet. The journeys that they routinely or repeatedly undertake are ‘dug’ out of the material in an almost archaeological manner. Their habits and ways of inhabiting the city are simultaneously made both monumental and as ghost-like traces.”