Networked performance & GPS-art: Scoot , Blast & Geograffity
Networked performance & GPS- art: Scoot42 , Blast 43 & Geograffity 44
Tot nog toe hebben we gezien hoe digitale media gebruikt werden als ondersteuning van Psychogeografische onderzoek, maar zoals ook eerder gezegd, is ook de digitale wereld en haar technieken onderdeel geworden van het onderzoeksveld van deze studie.
Vanaf het begin van het Internet wordt deze digitale infrastructuur al vergeleken met ruimte en plaats. Voorbeelden hiervan zijn bijvoorbeeld te vinden in het vocabulaire van het WWW: website, Homepage, IP-adress, cyberspace en chatroom. Door deze analogie is het mogelijk, middels een Détournement, de digitale wereld binnen het gebied van de Psychogeografie te brengen, en vice versa. Het logo van www.Makeworld.org is een heel sprekende verwijzing naar de intrede van het Internet in de Psychogeografie. De zin ‘border=Ø location=YES’ verwijst naar een van de standaard regels in een HTML pagina. De standaard codering is alsvolgt: ‘border= YES width=0’. De grens is natuurlijk een bekend begrip in Psychogeografie, en door het woord locatie in deze context te plaatsen refereren ze aan het feit dat het Internet vaak wordt gerepresenteerd als een plaats.
Deze analogie wordt onderzocht in het project Scoot. In een onderzoek naar hoe de twee parallelle infrastructuren, enerzijds de stedelijke ruimte, anderzijds de telematische connecties elkaar ontmoeten in zogenaamde ‘intelligente gebouwen’ en ‘smart offices’. Waar tot nog toe vooral wordt gekeken naar de economische voordelen van deze combinatie, is het doel van Scoot het ontdekken van een nieuw cultureel potentieel. Om dit onderzoek te ondersteunen werd het ‘Location Based Game’ Scoot ontwikkeld. Een ‘location based game’, of LBG is de combinatie van een online computerspel en de publieke ruimte. Het spel is allereerst ontwikkeld voor het “Creative Industries Precinct” in Brisbane, Australië, waar multimedia en Internet op vele manieren aan de gebouwen gekoppeld zijn. In het spel is de locatie nagebouwd, en de spelers moeten zowel in de stedelijke ruimte, alswel in de digitale representatie hiervan op zoek naar oplossingen om verder te komen is het spel. De specifieke vragen waarvoor dit spel ontwikkeld is zijn volgens de website:
1. How can LBGs intervene in the existing urban infrustructures (in particular the 'telematic' flows normally controlled by Telcos and government bodies)
2. How to exploit this in order for LBGs to provide the opportunity for urban 'existents' to engage in their cultural environments in a creative and productive way. 45
Het logo van Scoot bevat een zin tekst, namelijk, ‘This is no Game’. Dit is een bekende slogan binnen dit soort activiteiten, die aanduidt dat de wereld van het spel intervenieert met die van het ‘echte leven’, waardoor de verhaal lijn niet vooropgezet is, en het niet alleen dit ‘echte leven’ het spel binnendringt, maar het spel ook de realiteit bepaald wordt door het spel, wat het in het spectrum van het surrealisme brengt.46
Een tweede voorbeeld van een LBG is ‘Can you see me now?’47 van Blast. Deze LBG houdt zich niet bezig met multimediale gebouwen, om zichzelf binnen de realiteit te plaatsen, maar vertrouwd op renners die door middel van draagbare GPS apparatuur in de virtuele omgeving worden geplaatst. Deze renners hebben ook apparatuur om de ontwikkelingen binnen de virtuele omgeving te volgen. Zo kunnen spelers vanachter hun computer interactie hebben met de renners in de stedelijke omgeving. Dit project ligt in de lijn van Blast theory’s onderzoek naar de sociale en politieke aspecten van de relatie tussen de actuele en de virtuele ruimte.48
De GPS systemen staan ook aan de basis van het ‘Geograffity’ 49. Dit is een project waarbij gebruikers worden uitgenodigd om hun persoonlijke boodschappen aangaande een specifieke locatie achter te laten. Deze worden opgeslagen in een database die deze boodschappen koppelt aan stadskaarten. Deze boodschappen worden getoond aan deelnemers die een apparaat hebben dat zijn positie kan doorgeven. Dit kan een GPS- apparaat zijn, maar ook een gewone mobiele telefoon, aangezien ook van gsm-apparatuur te allen tijde de locatie kan worden gevolgd. Op basis van deze ‘graffiti’ kunnen dus ook thematische stadswandelingen gehouden worden. De aard van de berichten evolueert mee met de ontwikkeling van de technieken. Waar het oorspronkelijk slechts tekst berichten waren, behoren nu ook beelden, geluid en zelfs videobestanden tot de mogelijkheden. Zo zijn er bijvoorbeeld wandelingen op basis van stadsliederen georganiseerd. 
Networkedperformance&GPS-art.Scoot,Blast_img1.gif Scoot
SCOOT is a creative work that is the result of my current PhD studies ("Lesser-known Worlds")

SCOOT is a mixed reality experience designed to explore the potentials of a relatively new(ish) form of game design, location- based games (LBGs), that employ the web and mobile devices as tools of play. SCOOT is set in both the physical world and a virtual facsimile of the site situated online. Players are challenged to find and solve clues in BOTH worlds in order to reveal the dynamics of the site and progress in the game. SCOOT also exploits known tropes from treasure hunt and puzzle games in the real world, supported by online navigation and communication.
SCOOT: Location-Based Games as a creative tool for reviving local participation in urban environments.

SCOOT represents a new theorisation of the role of location based games (LBGs) as potentially playing specific roles in groups' access to the culture of cities. It argues that as a new genre in the field of mobile entertainment, research in this area tends to be preoccupied with the newness of the technology and its commercial possibilities. However, this overlooks its potential to contribute to cultural capital in this field. I have begun with the presumption that the potential lies in the capacity of these experiences to enhance relationships between specific groups and new urban spaces. It is proposed that this is enabled by the game's capacity to intervene in both the actual and telematic flows between local sites, individuals and groups, allowing individuals and groups to more actively engage in the social, cultural and economical transactions in an urban place.

In order to do so the focus of the study has become:

    1. How can LBGs intervene in the existing urban infrustructures (in particular the 'telematic' flows normally controlled by Telcos and government bodies)

    2. How to exploit this in order for LBGs to provide the opportunity for urban 'existents' to engage in their cultural environments in a creative and productive way.

Instead of only studying current examples of LBGs, I decided the best way to understand all the complexities involved, was to engage in a reflective process of the design and delivery of such an intervention. The resulting project, SCOOT has had multiple iterations in unique urban spaces that foster similar cultural and community activities with varying levels of access for local participation.
Networkedperformance&GPS-art.Scoot,Blast_img2.gif Blast
Is there someone you've not seen for a long time?


Can You See Me Now? is a chase game played online and on the streets.

Players are dropped at random locations into a virtual map of downtown Chicago. Tracked by satellites, Blast Theory's runners appear online next to your player. The runners use handheld computers showing the positions of online players to guide them in the chase.

Use your arrow keys to flee down the virtual streets, send messages and exchange tactics with other online players. An audio stream from Blast Theory's walkie talkies lets you eavesdrop on your pursuers: getting lost and out of breath on the real streets.

If a runner gets within 5 metres of you, a sighting photo is taken and your game is over.

Can You See Me Now? in Chicago has been made possible by the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art with support from the British Council USA
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Blast Theory
About Blast Theory
Blast Theory is renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists' groups using interactive media.  Led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj the group has a team of seven and is based in Brighton.  The group's work explores interactivity and the relationship between real and virtual space with a particular focus on the social and political aspects of technology.  It confronts a media saturated world in which popular culture rules, using video, computers, performance, installation, mobile and online technologies to ask questions about the ideologies present in the information that envelops us.
Early works such as Gunmen Kill Three, Chemical Wedding and Stampede drew on club culture to create multimedia performances that invited participation.  From 1997, the group's work further diversified into online, installation and interactive works such as Kidnap and Desert Rain.  Since 2000, Blast Theory has been exploring the convergence of online and mobile technologies in collaboration with the Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham, to create groundbreaking new forms of performance and interactive art mixing audiences across the internet, live performance and digital broadcasting.  Projects include the award-winning Can You See Me Now?, Uncle Roy All Around You and I Like Frank - the world's first mixed reality game for 3G phones.  The group works with partners such as BBC Interactive, The Science Museum in London and British Telecom.  Masterclasses, mentoring, internships, seminars and lectures are central to the group's dissemination of its research around the world.
In March 2005, Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj were presented with the Maverick Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards in San Francisco.  In 2003, Blast Theory won the much coveted Golden Nica for Interactive Art at Prix Ars Electronica, received an Honorary Mention at the Transmediale Awards in Germany in 2001 and has been nominated for many other awards including four BAFTAs.
Internationally, the group has been represented at art fairs and festivals including Festival Escena Contemporanea, Madrid; the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Rotterdam; Biennale of Sydney; ArtFutura, Barcelona; International Festival for Dance, Performance and Media Arts, Köln; Palestine International Video Festival and Basel Art Fair.
Networkedperformance&GPS-art.Scoot,Blast_img3.gif GeoGraffity
To demonstrate the concept of waypoint sharing we have been developing a number of waypoint sharing applications for the project we call Geograffiti. Using the GPSter database, these applications access the waypoint lists for retrieval and storage of waypoint data and other accessory information, such as text, images, audio, video, or links to other information. Running on location-aware and wireless-enabled portable devices, the applications can retreive waypoint lists based on context (search keywords), or location, or both. Typical use would include showing all waypoints in a wide geographic region, as a mapping overlay, or showing waypoints in a specific location that the user is presently in. The latter is the Geographiti concept: leaving location- dependent messages or media to be accessed by others not by a URL, but by the real location itself.

Songlines is an ongoing experiment in geo-annotation and collaberative cartography. Using handheld computers equipped with global positioning system (GPS) and wireless internet (GPRS), participants can explore the streets of Utrecht, simultaneously experiencing the real world and a world of virtual graffiti. Moving through the real space of Utrecht reveals hidden messages and locative media: text, images, and sound specific to that point in space. Users can also create annotations themselves; every point in space is a virtual canvas.

You can also experience augmented Utrecht through this website. Watch a slideshow of some songline threads; each "X" marks a point of annotation; different colours represent different threads and different types of annotation.

Explore the map of the city where hundreds of annotations are revealed; Click on the points to reveal their contents, or create annotations yourself: leave a message or upload an image, geo- coded to the real space of Utrecht itself.
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0=YES border=0 location=YES
Under the title BORDER="Ø" LOCATION="YES" the make world paper#1 aimed to track new forms of subjectivity carried out by current modifications of the world; which until recently were characterized as "infotization", "digitization" and "globalization". The more these buzzwords loose their glamour, the more important it is to discuss the role borders play, and question what restricted and unrestricted locality, mobility and freedom of movement may mean.
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Brian Holmes - Drifting trough the grid
Psychogeography and Imperial Infrastructure
Brian Holmes
     
1: "Great social movements leave the content of their critical politics behind, in the forms of a new dominion. This was the destiny of the revolt against bureaucratic rationalism in the sixties. The Situationists, with the practice of the dérive and the program of unitary urbanism, aimed to subvert the functionalist grids of modernist city planning. They tried to lose themselves in the urban labyrinth, while calling for the total fusion of artistic and scientific resources in »complete decors« –»another city for another life«, as the radical architect Constant proclaimed. With the worldwide implementation of a digital media architecture – and the early signs of a move toward cinematic buildings – we are now seeing the transformation of the urban framework into total decor (Lev Manovich: »In the longer term every object may become a screen connected to the Net, with the whole of built space becoming a set of display surfaces«. What kind of life can be lived in the media architecture? And how to explain the continuing prestige of Situationist aesthetics, in a period which has changed so dramatically since the early 1960s?

2: Today, the sensory qualities of the dérive are mimicked by hyperlinked voyages through the datascapes of the World Wide Web.

3: In this way, the »geograffiti« of GPS waypoint marking seeks to promote a new kind of locational humanism, tailored to the worldwide wanderer. »Know your place« is the ironic HeadMap motto. But what would it really take to lose yourself in the abstract spaces of global circulation?



Great social movements leave the content of their critical politics behind, in the forms of a new dominion. This was the destiny of the revolt against bureaucratic rationalism in the sixties. The Situationists, with the practice of the dérive and the program of unitary urbanism, aimed to subvert the functionalist grids of modernist city planning. They tried to lose themselves in the urban labyrinth, while calling for the total fusion of artistic and scientific resources in »complete decors« –»another city for another life«, as the radical architect Constant proclaimed. With the worldwide implementation of a digital media architecture – and the early signs of a move toward cinematic buildings – we are now seeing the transformation of the urban framework into total decor (Lev Manovich: »In the longer term every object may become a screen connected to the Net, with the whole of built space becoming a set of display surfaces«. What kind of life can be lived in the media architecture? And how to explain the continuing prestige of Situationist aesthetics, in a period which has changed so dramatically since the early 1960s?
Today, the sensory qualities of the dérive are mimicked by hyperlinked voyages through the datascapes of the World Wide Web. The decades-old imaginaries of the Silver Surfer still permeate our computer-assisted fantasies. Within this commercialized flux, the proponents of »locative media« – like Ben Russel, the developer of headmap.org, or Marc Tuters, of gpster.net – propose to add a personalized sense of place, a computerized science of global ambiances, using satellite positioning technology. In this way, the »geograffiti« of GPS waypoint marking seeks to promote a new kind of locational humanism, tailored to the worldwide wanderer. »Know your place« is the ironic HeadMap motto. But what would it really take to lose yourself in the abstract spaces of global circulation?
Not long ago, utopian maps portrayed the Internet as an organic space of interconnected neurons, like the synapses of a planetary mind. Data- sharing and open-source software production have effectively pointed a path to a cooperative economy. But a contemporary mapping project like »Minitasking« depicts the Gnutella network as a seductive arcade, bubbling over with pirated pop tunes and porno clips. The revolutionary aspirations of the Situationist drift are hard to pinpoint on the new cartographies.
In the wake of September 11, the Internet's inventors – DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – conceived a new objective: »Total Information Awareness«, a program to exploit every possible control function that can be grafted onto the new communications technology. Here's where the innovation lies: in »Evidence Extraction and Link Discovery«, »Human ID at a Distance«, »Translingual Information Detection«, etc. Fortunately for American civil liberties, Congress still had the constitutional power to quash this distorted brainchild of a convicted political criminal, the retired admiral John Poindexter. But the Pentagon has clearly caught up to the commercial surveillance packages that took the initiative in the late nineties: workstation monitors, radio tracking badges, telephone service recording, remote vehicle monitoring (advertising blurb: »From the privacy of your own computer, you can now watch a vehicle's path LIVE using the new ProTrak GPS vehicle tracking device«). Military strategist Thomas Barnett has learned the lesson of the freewheeling 1990s, when individual autonomy developed at the speed of high technology: »In my mind, we fight fire with fire«, he says. »If we live in a world increasingly populated by Super- Empowered Individuals, then we field an army of Super- Empowered Individuals.«
In »The Flexible Personality« I tried to show how networked culture emerged as a synthesis of two contradictory elements: a communicative opportunism, bringing labor and leisure together in a dream of disalienation that stretches back to the 1960s; and an underlying architecture of surveillance and control, made possible by the spread of cutting- edge technologies. The contemporary manager expresses the creativity and liberation of a nomadic lifestyle, while at the same time controlling flexible work teams for just-in- time production. The Yes Men have made this figure unforgettable: impersonating the WTO at a textile industry conference in Finland, they unveiled a tailor-made solution for monitoring a remote labor force, what they called the Management Leisure Suit. The glittering lycra garment might have recalled what NY Times pundit Thomas Friedman once called the »golden straitjacket«, forcing national governments into the adoption of a neoliberal policy mix; but the yard- long, hip-mounted phallus with its inset viewing screen is just a little too enthusiastic for private-sector discipline! Transmitting pleasurable sensations when everything is going well on the production floor, it allows the modern manager to survey distant employees while relaxing on a tropical beach. The conclusion of the whole charade is that with today's technology, democracy is guaranteed by Darwinian principles: there's no reason for a reasonable businessman to own a slave in an expensive country like Finland, when you can have a free employee for much less, in whatever country you chose.
What happens when the freedmen revolt? Today all eyes are on the soldier. Thomas Barnett has drawn up a new world map for the Pentagon: it divides the »functioning core« of globalization, »thick with network connectivity,« from the »non-integrating gap« of the equatorial regions, »plagued by politically repressive regimes«. The gap is where the majority of American military interventions have taken place since the end of the Cold War. It's also where a great deal of the world's oil reserves are located. And it's mainly inhabited by indigenous peoples (in Latin America) or by Muslims (in North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Indonesia). Barnett's solution: »Shrink the gap«. Integrate those people, by force if necessary.
Jordan Crandall seems to grapple with this question of integration in one of his installations, »Heat Seeking«. The piece is full of menacing violence; but one scene shows a passive, unconscious woman being fed, apparently under the influence of a radio transmission. This disturbing image gets under the skin of the new media architecture, exploring its relations to psychic intimacy. What kind of subjectivity emerges from exposure to the contemporary networks?
I think we should conceive the worldwide communications technologies as Imperial infrastructure. These are systems with strictly military origins, but which have been rapidly liberalized, so that broad sectors of civil society are integrated into the basic architecture. Everything depends on the liberalization. The strong argument of Empire was to show that democratic legitimacy is necessary for the spread of a reticular governance, whose inseparably military and economic power cannot simply be equated with its point of origin in the United States. Imperial dimension is gained when infrastructures become accessible to a new category of world citizens. The effect of legitimacy goes along with integration to the »thick connectivity« of which Barnett speaks.
What happens, for example, when a private individual buys a GPS device, made by any of dozens of manufacturers? You're connecting to the results of a rocket-launch campaign which has put a constellation of 24 satellites into orbit, at least four of which are constantly in your line-of-sight, broadcasting the radio signals that will allow your device to calculate its position. The satellites themselves are fine- tuned by US Air Force monitor stations installed on islands across the earth, on either side of the equator. Since Clinton lifted the encryption of GPS signals in the year 2000, the infrastructure has functioned as a global public service: its extraordinary precision (down to the centimeter with various correction systems) is now open to any user, except in those cases where unencrypted access is selectively denied (as in Iraq during the last war). With fixed data from the World Geodetic System – a planetary mapping program initiated by the US Department of Defense in 1984 – you can locate your own nomadic trajectory on a three-dimensional Cartesian grid, anytime and anywhere on Earth (Defense department dogma: »Modern maps, navigation systems and geodetic applications require a single accessible, global, 3- dimensional reference frame. It is important for global operations and interoperability that DoD systems implement and operate as much as possible on WGS 84«).
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this satellite infrastructure is that in order for one's location to be pinpointed, the clock in each personal receiver has to be exactly synchronized with the atomic clocks in orbit. So you have an integration to Imperial time. The computer-coded radio waves interpellate you in the sense of Althusser, they hail you with an electromagnetic »hey you!« When you use the locating device you respond to the call: you are interpellated into Imperial ideology. The message is that integration equals security, as exemplified in the advertising for the Digital Angel, a personal locative device pitched to medical surveillance and senior care. It's a logical development for anyone who takes seriously the concept of the »surgical strike«: give yourself over to the care of the machines, target yourself for safety.
In light of all this, one can wonder about the limits of the concept of conversion, developed extensively by Marko Peljhan in quite brilliant projects for the civilian reappropriation of military technology. Can we still make any distinction between a planetary civil society articulated by global infrastructure, and the military perspective that Crandall calls »armed vision«? The urgency is social subversion, psychic deconditioning, an aesthetics of dissident experience. Most of the alternative projects or artworks using the GPS system are premised on the idea that it permits an inscription of the individual, a geodetic tracery of individual difference. The most beautiful example to date is Esther Polak's »RealTime« project, where GPS-equipped pedestrians gradually sketch out the city plan of Amsterdam, as a record of their everyday itineraries. But the work is a fragile gesture, fraught with ambiguity: the individual's wavering life-line appears at once as testimony of human singularity in time, and proof of infallible performance by the satellite mapping system.
All too often in contemporary society, aesthetics is politics as decor. Which is why the Situationists themselves soon abandoned Constant's elaborate representations of unitary urbanism. »Ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence«, wrote Althusser. It's what makes you walk the line, to use his image. Has the ideology of our time not become an erratic, wavering pattern of crisscrossing footsteps, traced in secure metric points on an abstract field? The aesthetic form of the dérive is everywhere. But so is the hyper- rationalist grid of Imperial infrastructure. And the questions of social subversion and psychic deconditioning are wide open, unanswered, seemingly lost to our minds, in an era when civil society has been integrated to the military architecture of digital media.
Cartographic art links
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