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TOWARDS GEOSPATIAL CULTURAL PLANNING: STRATEGIES FOR LOCAL CULTURAL INNOVATION WITH LOCATIVE NEW MEDIA ART

This paper explores locative new media art in a contextual framework of cultural urban revitalization. I characterize two kinds of “site-specifics” in considering locative media art as a tool of “geospatial cultural planning”. I propose the application of “location-based media” to the “mediated locality” in a “performative program” of locative media art, which facilitates a platform for cultural innovation among citizens.

AUTHOR(S)
• Master of Arts Tanya Toft This paper explores a conceptualization of locative new media art in a contextual framework of revitalization of urban spaces. The intersection of urban and new media studies has opened up a dynamic field of practice and research. The engagement of citizens and urban environments through mobile activities is explored in practices of urban planning and community development; for example, in experiments of mobilizing people to use their mobile devices to collect data in the urban for re-constructing a sense of cultural community around data maps , and, of mediating a locality through virtual overlays of augmented reality, or in site-specific multimedia installations. The significant attention toward site-specificity and locality in multidisciplinary practices of urban revitalization is the topic of consideration in this paper; in particular, the application of locative media art to strategic urban revitalization and community development. The paper asks: How can we consider the “program” of the locative media art project as facilitating socio-spatial relationships in a way that cultivates a site and the activities in it?

Meaning and matter in space and place I will begin this paper by considering a conceptualization of the structures of the environment in which locative media art projects “work,” which is a condition for considering such projects as intervention strategies for urban revitalization. New media technologies, including mobile media, ambiguous and pervasive computing, have come to reconfigure our understandings and experiences of space and culture in between the microcosm of the everyday and the macrocosm of spatial flows. As noted by Scott McQuire: "If urban space has historically been defined by the relation between static structures and mobile subjects, this dichotomy is fast giving way to a hybrid spatiality characterized by dynamic flows which not only dissolve the fixity of traditional modes of

a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances. for churches to be used as children's playgrounds. The Situationist intention was not just to interpret situations but also to transform them. We moved from what Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari describes in “A Thousand Plateaus” (2004) as “striated space. and is unprogrammed [iii] . bluebrainmusic. organized and has rules. Manuel Castells' concept of the spaces of flow refers to “the material organization of time-sharing social practices that work through flows” and to the interrelated linkages across an infinite amount of local and global relationships [ii] . The dérive is the route in locative media art projects. no barriers. spatial geographical structure to another. com) . which the Situationists Guy Debord and Gil J. In the dérive. In the spaces of flow. blogspot. This was to be done within the aesthetic notion of the détournement . with a lack of consistency and pre-scribed functions. as it has broken down the fixed organizations of form. The construction of situations of resistance The mobile construction of situations was the program of the psychogeographic explorations of the 1960s (between 1957-1972) avant-garde movement. which shows which locations are tagged with sound. In this conception. in the recomposition of parts of experience by which an experienced “map” of the city is reformulated. function and meaning. Their ideas of resistance toward the homogenizing and disciplining effects of the functional urban planning ideas of the 1950s and 1960s called for the metro stations to be opened at night. to “smooth space” . this uses a cell phone's built-in GPS-capabilities to let the music change as one moves around Central Park in New York City in a form of derive (the project is to be released on October 4 2011) ( www. Through the “dérive”. for roofs to be available and designed for people to use them. which is “flat” and contains no fixed elements. the Situationist International. the spaces of flow has “smoothened” space.” which is delimited. The drift follows a psychogeographic map. a situation is constructed in the drift. the Situationists explored a different appropriation of the city by navigating its psychogeography in a playful-constructive behavior of “drifting”. It is in this condition of smooth space. negotiation and imagination about locality. With the development of spaces of flow. in which hybrid spatialities are formulating and reformulating new rhetoric's for its urban spaces.spatial enclosure. and for the distribution of artworks in cafés and pubs rather than museums. Characteristic of all instances of . that locative media art projects become powerful in re-formulating the possibilities for appropriation. in the second location-aware album of the music band Bluebrain's entitled “Listen to the Light”. we moved from one kind of conceptual. because site-specific media operates in the immaterial level of the spaces of flow but gains its matter from the space of places. cities develop in between material and immaterial organizations as dynamic fields of shifting intensities and immersive environments. Wolman characterize in Détournement as Negation and Prelude as “the re-employment in a new unity of pre-existing artistic elements” [iv] . For example. but problematize the unified presence of the subject traversing the contours" [i] .

The détournement constructs a situation in the reformulation. which can be characterized as concerned with how geographies shape and explain social processes and social action. and sees how the city is laid out. characteristically concerned with how social processes shape and explain geographies . The situations of resistance found in the dérive and the détournement might “work” in two different. a form of unification of space and architecture with the social and individual body. or reemployment.” which with the developments in technologies and new mobile media came to change spatial conceptions and geographical imaginations. De Certeau report from his position on top of the high-rise building of the World Trade Center. of an environment. because their use changes and so does the system of practice they become a part of. When we think of locative media art projects as détournements. perceptual levels of city. and 2) a media turn in geography. which their future use is eventually thought into. they become site-specific explorations of a human geography and seeks to “reclaim the street” through experiments with methods for navigating. which he then describes. and sense-experience. These acts of appropriating urban environments form the conception of places to become more mobile in their composition as urban constructs. although this is performed at the street level. of resistance toward the organizational form of the built environment. which to different extents become expressions of claiming the city's urban territories. it gains its significance from the re-composition of urban environments in the psychogeographic map on a mental level above the street – where the experienced urban elements are brought together to form a new map. if we consider Guy Debord's illustration of the dérive in his psychogeographic map. Location-based media and mediated localities The two perspectives sketched by De Certeau characterize two directions of spatial thinking in mapping and GIS technologies. as two directions in “the spatial turn. Thielman characterizes the two parallel developments in the spatial turn as 1) a spatial turn in media studies. In the street-level perspective. The Situationists apply the aesthetic concept of détournement to a vision of a “unitary urbanism” of social and everyday life. of moving around on the street level. the urban environment is a site of practice. which is the level where the city is experienced and physically appropriated. legible and resolved. embodiment. is explored in the act of walking in the city. These are illustrated in the two perspectives characterized by Michel De Certeau in the essay Walking in the City . which gives him a birds-eye perspective on Manhattan. The contrasting view. Edward Soja defines “the spatial turn” as “…fundamentally an attempt to develop a more creative and critically effecting balancing of the spatial/geographical and the temporal/historical imaginations” [vi] . The détournement “operates” from a street-level perspective. exploring and experiencing the city.détournements is that they emerge from people's urges to appropriate and use the city in a desired way. This is a creation of site-specific. and how things relate to each other [v] . artistic reclaimed situations in urban space. In particular. This is a particular logic of rationality of seeing in the city.

” in which media documents geography. to be re-contextualized into a notion that includes involvement in the collective enhancement of one' physical community and environment. which is literally illustrated in the organization of the project in a time line in the online forum. The project uses locative media in an audio-visual mix and rendering of sound. She points at an opportunity of re-contextualizing the mobile phone as an artifact that encourages users to identify themselves as culturally and civically aware individuals of urban citizens [x] . is found in the “mediated locality. and a platform for cultural innovation.” This follows the logic of interconnection in “the rhizome”. which is often explored through tagging and tracking with GPS and Wi-Fi. and raises public attention to the changes in the town in period of renewal. which are documented on site and collected in a digital map of Kwun Tong. based on their shared memories of the city's past. which followed the media turn in geography. The connection of urban experiences and narratives in this network forms into situations of possibilities for negotiating urban practices and relationships in a mode of inter-subjectivity. documents unique parts of culture and spatial practices. when considering how “program aspects” of locative media art might apply to a framework of urban revitalization. still image and moving image. is undergoing a large urban renewal plan. in a Habermasian sense of community. Through the shared memories of Kwun Tong. I will point at a significant potential in this network logic. which comes to formulate site-specificity in a birds-eye perspective. and the logic among participants that forms it. In this form of sitespecificity. These diverging approaches compose a double determination of the idea of “site-specificity” in the “genre” of locative media art projects. in which every point is connected to innumerable numbers [ix] . social nature of using the mobile phone and the “mobile identity” around such practices. The second direction of practice in the spatial turn. the city's citizens are invited to discuss and negotiate the future of the city. kwuntongculture. The videos and images of Kwun Tong are collected in an online forum. can enhance an intercultural sense of citizenship and foster a shared sense of meaning in the local. The project traces history. The spatial turn in media studies is characterized by “location-based media”. Christine Satchell identifies a potential in the culturally loaded. . from which enactment (of mediating a form of cultural coherency) has been overlaid on the city. The project started in 2009 and is scheduled to end with the end of the renewal in 2021 (www.” This is explored in a phenomenological mode of sense-experience. The network. The connection of people's geo-tagged urban experiences in a map of Kwun Tong online forms into what Scott McQuire refers to as “network logic. for example about a place's history and cultural narrative as in the given example.” which is a multimedia project programmed for a discussion of urban renewal while Kwun Tong. This is the spatial situation of the “geotagger. during the urban renewal process. time becomes in a sense superior to space.[vii] . a town in East Kowloon of Hong Kong. hk). and by which our handling of space and place is reorganized sociotechnically [viii] . Examples of this notion of locative media is found in the project “A Map of Our Own: Kwun Tong Culture and Histories. The collected media comes to compose a culturally shared narrative of Kwun Tong.

Another example of augmented reality is the “MoMA AR Exhibition” by Sander Veenhof and Mark Skwarek. php). the real-place experience can be considered as superior to the real-time experience. icg. in an augmented layer that is only visible through one's phone. the shelter hosts a workshop for a creative space for experiments in integrating many different points of shared views on a mixed-reality reconstruction site. The mediation of a locality or urban environment is for example found in projects of augmented reality – in which the subject is enacting with the physical world through a virtual overlay. tugraz. Grooves can apply new goals to a place. layar. mediated through locative media art projects. This echoes the Situationist quest for liberation from the pre-scribed organization of the city's urban environment in the détournement.in a sense of re-animating a place [xi] . In the mediated situation in this and similar projects of mediated localities. . mixed reality technology – the combined representation of real and overlaid digital data – is enclosed in a shelter on the site-specific location of the urban renewal project (http:// studierstube. This has followed the hierarchical organization of the disciplinary society as the key organizational mode of the contemporary developed society [xii] . The “ grooved space” is a marking of an environment in the “smooth” space of the digitalized society. The projectary activity that takes up the mediated locality in the groove. Perhaps we can think of mediated localities with support from Anders Fogh Jensen's Deleuzeinspired concept of “the groove. The form of site-specificity formulated in this project depends on the content that plays out in a particular physical environment. The project “Museum of the Phantom City” (2009) by Irene Cheng and Brett Snyder is a locative media art project that displays could-have-been architecture in urban spaces of Manhattan. which was part of the Conflux Festival program in 2010 ( www. The “groove” in a mediated locality is found in the site-specific renewal project “Mixed Reality Tent” (2009) by IP City in Graz. and only as one goes by the physical location where the architecture was supposed to have been built ( www. com/ layers/ moma) . With participants of both professionals and citizens. While this example represents a site-specificity of a mediated locality. Locative media art projects conceptualized as grooves interrupt the form of appearance and mode of experience of the urban fabric and invite for a re-appropriation of a location. at/ ipcity/ mrtent. In this project. the physical space inside the MoMA in New York City hosts a virtual exhibition. phantomcity. can be considered for a significant program aspect in the sense that it is situated in the specific locality. can be considered a “marking” in the meeting between the material and the immaterial urban level. which interrupts the routines of a place and allows for local reimagination. The groove invites for people to stop up and join a “projectary activity. if only on an imaginary level. by inviting for new creations of meaning. New York City. org ). This includes a creative thinking about “acting in the world” by creating a territory for the projectary activity.” which Fogh Jensen characterizes as a structure of organization in the project society. it also represents a program of a détournement in the projectary activity. The groove of the mediated locality.” proposed in his dissertation “The Project Society” (2010). Austria. which is only visible through people's cell phones. In this project.

which is established in the mediated locality and applies new goals to a place and invites for projectary activities which reformulate local meaning. which I have pointed out in this paper. which is possible from people's site-specific geo-tagging and spatial documentation through mobile phones.” meaning how it could transform a place by intervening in a place's socio-spatial practices. aspirations. While the program of the “Listen to Light” project and the “MoMA AR Exhibition” can both be considered as performances. or programmed. The program characteristics of respectively location-based media and mediated localities. and to act upon the desires . The mediated locality serves to direct this attention to a geographical site-specificity to bring the inter-subjective creativity “back to place”. with attention to the active action of the installation in the urban environment. to reorient toward new goals and objectives. is to think of how the locative media art is coded with an intention to affect a locality in a particular way. Through location-based media of geo-tagging. when conceptualized in a context of urban revitalization. people are enabled to identify features of embodied interaction and develop a language for shared creativity in a network-extension of the relational site.Conceptualizing the “program” of urban intervention in locative media art The “program” of locative media art. and among participating subjects in the . The narrative is to be constructed along with the exploration. and attributes of the agents within them. to function as a tool in urban revitalization projects. and the groove. These. the program of the mediated locality is that by which the intervention is situated in place – and designed to operate for a particular project in that place. To think of a program in locative media art in this respect. regards how the project engages with socio-spatial practices in an urban environment.” as it responds to a processual aim of urban revitalization through an aesthetics that is designed. we are to consider what the locative media art project should and could “do. When considering the program. regard the connection of subjects in a shared sense of project and cultural consensus in a network. I propose. by affecting the spatial practices and urban imaginations among citizens. are to be thought together in a program of locative media art as a tool of urban revitalization. The performative program I will propose that such a conceptualization of a program of locative media art. is “performative” rather than “performing. needs. building on top of the place's specific aesthetics. with the subject as an audience of a pre-defined experience. While the program of the locationbased tagging allows for a particular shared sense of geographic interpretation and cultural consensus in a dimension of networked de-territorialization from the fixed form of the urban. a performative program is one that provides the subject with a lens to explore without the narrative being pre-defined. The program employs forms of knowledge to reform or radically challenge an operation.

[iii] Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. which combines the two modes of site-specificity in organizing location based media to work in mediated localities. . xii. Wolman. “From Social Butterfly to Urban Citizen: The Evolution of Mobile Phone Practice”. meaning. 5a (2010): 1-17 [viii] Thielman. (Berkeley: University of California Press. 67. [xi] Thielman. (New York: Routledge.network. Handbook of research on urban informatics . (New York: Continuum). [v] Michel De Certeau. in Aether the journal of media geography no. in Marcus Foth. 23. the mediated narrative is concerned with place but its matter of intervention is constructed in the network among participants. [vi] Edward Soja. 132. The Rise of the Network Society. The practice of everyday life . Interdisciplinary perspectives . Architecture and Urban Space ." in The Spatial Turn. (London: SAGE Publications. “Locative Media and Mediated Localities”: 1-17. [vii] Tristan Thielman. about how the socio-spatial is being produced with locative media. [ii] Manuel Castells. II . 92. 11-35. and about what motivates citizens for participation in projectary activities in such forms of “geospatial cultural planning”. 1988). 353365. The Media City: Media. ( IGI Global. A Thousand Plateaus . “Détournement as Negation and Prelude. [ix] McQuire. (Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets. References and Notes: [i] Scott McQuire. geo-tagging is combined with senseexperience in the “geo-spatial”. 2004. [x] Christine Satchell. (Cambridge: Oxford-Wiley. 442. 1-17. The Information Age. 2009). “Locative Media and Mediated Localities: An Introduction to Media Geography”. 2008). 2002). In the performative program. The Media City . 2006). This enables a form of cultural innovation among citizens in the double experience of site-specificity. Vol. [iv] Guy Debord and Gil J. "Taking space personally.” in Situationist International Anthology . This opens up for questions to be pursued further. 2009).” Locative Media and Mediated Localities”. What I am proposing here is a consideration on the potentials in the program of projectary activities in locative media art to enrich urban development by bringing citizens together in networks while reveal new possibilities in the locality of the urban environment.

[xii] Anders Fogh Jensen. Projektsamfundet . (Århus: Århus Universitetsforlag. 2010). 406. .

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