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

Hi Brett,

Yes I would agree that most public art begins with the desire to please
everyone and ends by meaning nothing to anyone. Since we have funded the
projects ourselves, we can set the tone, content, voice, look, and goal
for ourselves. Of course we don't have anyone else to blame for our
failures and short comings.

We haven't necessarily set out to make public art. We simply took more of
a do it yourself approach, not so different from the .net artists,
distributing their work directly to their audience. I have worked in the
art world and know what a twisted racket it is.  I often wonder why young
artists are so desperate to get pimped out. I'm not trying to suggest that
we are critiquing the gallery system either.

There is a connection with land art, but there is also a connection to
radio theatre and a dozen other things. I agree that its problematic to
use terms like locative and location aware as we have inherited from so
many parents that those terms limit the thing that has been born. As for a
term like ?land use interpretation?, that doesn't get to what we are
doing.  CLUI, the Center for Land Use Interpretation, has such a strong
brand that no one else can use the term ?land use interpretation?. We have
different agendas as well.

In reference to some of your earlier questions about interface and user
experience, we tried to keep the interface to a minimum so that the user
experience would be a maximum. We send people out in groups, usually 3 to
5 . The users see a map, no video or splashy graphics, but most of them
won't pay too much attention to the map. A user or two navigate or point
out there there is content; straight ahead, just to the left and so on.

The group collectively figures out where to go, but that can be driven as
much by the  surroundings, curiosity about a building, a desire to avoid a
urine scented alley as well as what is shown on the screen. We were very
conscious of keeping the experience from blotting out the real world.

They linger, thats something we hadn't anticipated. The users complete the
tour and wait for me send the next group out. They all seem to understand
that they have experienced the city in some new way and want to talk about
it or extend that experience somehow. They do connect with city and engage
its history. We just allow a new access point.

A few days ago Glenn Bach mentioned that the photos on the 34 North 118
West web site showed the user looking at the screen and speculated that
the user was missing out on the real. When we premiered 34 North two years
ago no one had seen anything like it, so we  used a number of images that
revealed what we had developed, rather than showing images of the users
examining buildings, alleyways and empty lots.

jeff knowlton

-- mining the urban landscape

> 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"
> (, and "sublime profiling" (Joel Slayton), might be more
> appropriate.
> 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
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

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