Locative Media

Locative Media

“Although locative media purports to provide tools for the creation and reception of counter-archives, providing a seemingly emancipatory shift toward self-representation, it is necessary to consider the affective qualities of the technology itself, says Ryan Griffis.”

Interessante artigo sobre locative mídia de Ryan Griffis, For an art against the cartography of everyday life relacionando as experiências em “locativa media art” e conhecimento, representação visual e da cultura, significação, controle, vigilância… Para mais veja o meu artigo Mídia Locativa e Território Informacional. Abaixo alguns trechos do artigo:

“The “Locative Media’ label has been used to refer to both commercial and “critical” avant garde applications of geospatially aware technologies. Both often share a predilection for revealing the individual experience of “everyday life” and connecting it to larger, socially mediated and networked forms of experience. Locative media relies on the placement and movement of devices that can compute, and then transmit, their location to other, equally connected devices, like computers. In a larger cultural sphere, this is visible in the proliferation of the Geographic Positioning System (GPS) technology that is becoming increasingly common in devices like cell phones and automobiles. Locative media benefits from such deployment of communication technologies as “ubiquitous” – to be everywhere, at all times, and often unnoticed and inaccessible. Such notions of ubiquity can’t help but intersect with notions of “the everyday” – where else is “the everyday” if not in “the everywhere”? (…)

I will return to some of the implications of this technological inscription of desire later, but would like to shift into a discussion of locative media as it is practiced and celebrated within the avant garde cultural sphere, and more specifically, in contemporary art.

One contemporary locative media art work that has received much attention (the 2005 Golden Nica Award at Ars Electronica and exhibited in “Making Things Public” at the ZKM) is a mapping project by Esther Polak, Ieva Auzina and the Riga Center for New Media Culture (RIXC) titled “MILK.” Completed from 2003 through 2005, “MILK” follows the production and distribution of cheese, from Latvian dairy farms to the markets of Utrecht. Following the movements of nine “participants” (selected people involved in the making, moving and consumption of cheese) through the use of GPS devices given to them, “MILK” proposes to give us a glimpse into the social, and spatial, construction of cheese. The self-generated press for the project positions it as a “locative art – mapping project, that explores visual and documenting possibilities of GPS technology.”

The project’s basic components consist of some text, video and photographic imagery that records the movements of farmers, dealers and buyers of cheese. Through these mediations, the artists represent the spatial histories and knowledges that are, for all practical purposes, otherwise inaccessible and invisible in the material of cheese. “MILK” re-presents “cheese” as a body of knowledge that can be engaged on a human scale, through the actions and thoughts of those involved in its production, and on a more macro scale, through visualizations that reveal the geographic distances and time involved in its materialization.(…)

Where locative media practitioners and proponents can point to the difference between their work and conventional documentary practice is in their desire and ability to annotate space – to link their narratives to specific, geographic contexts. Many locative media projects use geo-spatial technology to attach stories, sound and relationships to locations such that an intersection between virtual/networked space and geographic space can be used to visualize invisible or imaginary realities. The Toronto-based [murmur] project, for example, produces audio stories about specific locations, using stickers marked with phone numbers to provide access to those stories for people inhabiting those very spaces, attempting to “change the way people think about that place” by bringing “that important archive out onto the streets.”

In many respects, I can find in contemporary locative media practices a response to critiques of archival and documentary models, by Rosler and others, like artist and theorist Alan Sekula. [murmur]’s creation of an alternative archive of Toronto, for example, could be read as an answer to Sekula’s dictum that “the archive has to be read from below, from a position of solidarity with those displaced, deformed, silenced, or made invisible by the machineries of profit and progress.” (“Reading an archive”, in Blasted Allegories, p. 184)

If locative media purports to provide tools for the creation and reception of counter-archives, providing access to the very means of knowledge (and therefore historical) production, this indeed seems an emancipatory shift toward self-representation. But the means through which locative media operates should also be considered. In recent debates about the cultural capital that locative media has been attracting, critiques leveled against its most visible instances have accused it of complicity with capitalist spectacle and, worse, as cultural research and development for surveillance and data mining industries. Many have attacked this complicity and the historical connections between contemporary technologies of geographic visualization and the US military.

On the one hand, the significance of location-based media art can be critically analyzed through the established framework of representation; using the tools of cultural and visual studies, we can arrive at a reading of how the content of locative media fits into, or ruptures, the current paradigms of meaning, signification and knowledge production.(…)

But this would be only looking at locative media as a mechanism of representation, without consideration of the affective qualities of the technology itself. Without ignoring the importance of representation, and avoiding a reductive technological determinist analysis, we can look at the manner in which locative media could be read through Gilles Deleuze’s notion of a “control society” in which access and mobility are designed into systems, rather than enforced through disciplinary means. (…)

The melding of knowledge and space requires the simultaneous fusing of that knowledge with privileges of mobility and technological access. Mediated space becomes an archive, not of political contestation, but of narratives accessible only to those who benefit from voluntary processes of surveillance. This is not the panoptic surveillance of Foucault’s disciplinary society, it is the surveillance of supermarket value cards, toll-road EZ passes, automobile GPS tracking systems and biometric airline regulation.” (…)