-- online since 1993
ISSN NO : 1071 - 4391 The MIT Press
LEA Vol 14 No 3 July 2006
v o l 1 4
i s s u e

Introduction - Locative Media Special

Transport yourself into LEA‘s latest, that peeks into the world of locative media. This extensive issue offers a chock-full with insights of this fascinating topic. Additionally, for the first time, an associated curriculum section and bibliography index is incorporated.

At the helm is guest editor Drew Hemment, and in this installment, we look at eleven essays, each exploring different angles in the field of locative media.

Anne Galloway and Matt Ward, in Locative Media As Socialising And Spatializing Practice: Learning From Archaeology, "start to shape questions about locative media representations of urban mobilities, and begin to unearth some of the struggles and tensions that exist within these fields of operation."

In Trace: Mapping The Emerging Urban Landscape, Alison Sant collaborates with programmer Ryan Shaw and examines the layering of physical space with the on and off zones of the wireless network. The project seeks to blend the corporeal experience of the city with the invisible qualities of the network, creating a narrative mapping of the hybrid space between them.

Leslie Sharpe then dives into a shifting or indeterminate kind of public space - liminal spaces, haunted space, and spaces and zones that are often 'misread' by locative technologies - referred to here as 'grey zones', with her essay Swimming In The Grey Zones - Locating The Other Spaces In Mobile Art.

Locative Viscosity: Traces of Social Histories in Public Space by Lily Shirvanee explores the social issues that emerge when mobile technologies that have become increasingly locative begin to exist in public spaces. A constant thread throughout this paper is the concept of °viscosity°, where physical deformations of a locative media can also lead to social deformations of a space.

Julian Bleecker and Jeff Knowlton share their work: Locative Media: A Brief Bibliography And Taxonomy Of GPS-Enabled Locative Media, which serves as an introduction to GPS-enabled locative media, provides a few examples of both GPS-enabled and other forms of locative media, and launches a collaborative taxonomy and bibliography project to annotate, index and catalog locative media projects, in the broadest sense.

Next, Malcolm McCullough’s On Urban Markup: Frames of Reference in Location Models for Participatory Urbanism. He says, "Phenomena such as embodiment, spatial ability, scale, and persistent physical pattern provide deep bases for a shift from universal mobility toward a more socially-centered approach to situated computing, and from merely positional media toward a semantic component of location models." In this paper, he examines that change as a challenge in bottom-up cultural processes, and suggests "urban markup" as a way to understand the goals in knowledge representation.

Then, in Asphalt Games: Enacting Place Through Locative Media, Michele Chang and Elizabeth Goodman turn New York into a gameboard and website prompting play where players conquer turf on an online map by performing and documenting game moves on real-world streets. This hybrid of physical and digital performance exists through the interplay of social and spatial play and suggests that locative media move beyond pinpointing location to enacting place as a medium for expression.

In The Design and Experience of the Location-Based Game Uncle Roy All Around You, Steve Benford, Martin Flintham, Adam Drodz and Nick Tandavanitj, Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr present the design of a location-based game called Uncle Roy All Around You that mixes elements of computer games and live theatre to create an experience that is accessed by both mobile and online inhabitants of a city. Additionally, they summarize feedback from street and online players, and draw out three general design strategies for location-based games.

Lalya Gaye and Lars Erik Holmquist’s Performing Sonic City: Situated Creativity In Mobile Music Making is about a mobile music application that turns the city into a musical interface. A study with participants using this prototype in their everyday settings showed how Sonic City mediates a new type of personal experience of urban space and embeds electronic music making in the everyday.

Sally Jane Norman’s offering Locative Media and Instantiations of Theatrical Boundaries looks at how theater has constantly remapped its temporal and spatial boundaries, sometimes reviving old models that resurge with acuity in this reshaping process.
Homing Devices for Unhomely Times is Misha Myers’ contribution, where she looks at a socially engaged art project and "critically consider[s] locative media in relation to the wider context of forced migration and the politics, ethical views and modes of radical potentiality that emerge from this situation of human displacement."

Following that, indulge in the Locative Media Gallery. Locative Media, on and off the beaten track curated by Suhjung Hur, Annie On Ni Wan and Andrew Paterson, it explores this "hybrid and still emerging media culture and research field, (which) includes a rich spectrum of activities: collaborative mapping, open technology experimentation, tactical/surveillance critique, urban gameplay and subjective storytelling."

Works featured include Paula Roush’s Bowville, a durational performance; Teri Rueb’s The Choreography of Everyday Movement which envisions, as a topographical mapping, the culturally inscribed nature of our everyday travels using GPS; Angela Piccini’s Guttersnipe: On the Road to Helsinki, a 14-minute video/live-spoken-word performance, which aims to explore the potentialities and limitations of a photographic practice as archaeological practice, archaeology in the modern world, and a collaboration by John Anthony Evans, Drew Hemment, Theo Humphries and Mika Raento - Loca, an artist-led interdisciplinary project on mobile media and surveillance that explores the shifting boundaries between art practice, the event and data systems.

Other novel projects are also showcased. In Long March , artist Qin Ga, working with project curator Lu Jie, participated in the project from Beijing by remotely following the Long March team’s movements by tattooing its progress on his back.

Add to this Planteundersøgelser / Plant investigations - a growing investigation of plants in the city, by Jesper Dyrehauge, Marie Markman and Nis Rømer; urban game Shoot me if you can, by Taeyoon Choi, in collaboration with I&P media art team; Jang-Won Lee’s more than decade-long project sunTracer; Mark Shepard’s The Tactical Sound Garden [TSG] Toolkit, an open source software platform for cultivating public "sound gardens" in contemporary cities, and Erika Block and Hilary Ramsden’s interdisciplinary performance The Walking Project for a true feast of locative media nuggets.

For the first time, this special issue, also includes an associated curriculum section edited by Drew Hemment and the bibliography index which Steve Bull, Elizabeth Goodman, Pete Gomes, Derek Hales, Hana Iverson, Paula Levine, Ann Morrison, Teri Rueb, Alison Sant, Leslie Sharpe, Jen Southern and Nick West generously share.
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