[-empyre-] Is "locative media" the same as "mobile multimedia"?

GPS is probably the first digital locative user interface that was mass marketed and broadly available to a large public. (The .mil industry has had other digital systems for a long time...) Companies like Garmin and Thales (Magellan brand), have a close to a couple of decades of experience designing and deploying digital locative media interfaces. The diversity of these interfaces are mature and quite advanced - compare an aviation GPS system to a mapping system for drivers to hand held devices for hiking and climbing.

I have used GPS for many years and own more than one device. My favorite UI to a GPS device for most purposes is the Garmin geko interface - the most minimalist and unobtrusive UI, with the lowest resolution screen and most limited features. The entire reason I like it most is that it does the most to get out of my way, easily becoming a transparent, invisible interface. I don't go hiking to experience a digital UI, even though I *quite* enjoy being mediated by GPS as a location based service.

What I am proposing is that there is a critical/aesthetic distinction between "mobile multimedia" (designing user experience with digital UI that happens to use location data as triggers), and other potential forms of locative practice. The former is what I think most people refer to when the new meme "locative media" is being indexed today, while the latter may relate to any number of art practices such as land art, site-specific installation, and performance mediated by location aware technology. My issue with the former is that it implies "user interface, user iterface, user interface" and not "location, location, location."

Btw, all of these later terms (land art, site-specific) seem a little dangerous to me - in that they index a world of art ideas connecting to a lot of well explored 20th century practices. But I wonder of "mobile multimedia" and "locative media" don't suffer the same. Terms like landscape characterization, database, "land use interpretation" (www.clui.org), and "sublime profiling" (Joel Slayton), might be more appropriate.

hight@34n118w.net wrote:

I would have to say that it currently is both augmenting and competing

in the sense that the screen has to be viewed at least to see where one is at and going . I am very interested in solutions to this that minimize that periodic disconnect (like a pda or eventually smart eyewear so you don't even have to look down at all.

The other side of it is that there is an opportunity for a lot of play and
metaphor in the interface.  We use a map that is accurate but is acually
many decades old (the buildings haven't changed ) and are interested in
eventually using multiple layers that can, at times, slip.  Different
senses of place and mapping, interface and data, references to time and
usage with different ways of presenting information that could at times
slip in and out at certain locations.

We actually start the program and talk to the people at first , then let
them go.  It is much more their experience and their ultimate authoring in
a barthean sense of their path sets a sequence that they form (as we
designed it to function).

We watch them as they walk away and return and have learned a lot from
that. We take drivers licenses as a deposit.

-- Brett Stalbaum Lecturer, psoe Coordinator, ICAM Department of Visual Arts, mail code 0084 University of California, San Diego 9500 Gillman La Jolla CA 92093

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