For our last official discussion, I’d like to propose a research project. We’ve talked about capture and surveillance, simulations, representations and conceptualizations of space, dynamic systems, altered and augmented realities, performance and identities real and virtual. We’ve talked about the fuzzy line between reality lived and reality represented. Our own attraction/repulsion for new technologies and our own negotiations of their impact on our daily lives has been a recurrent theme, a constant questioning of the role and identity of the individual within the context of a flow, a stream or a system.
I’d like to have each of us revisit a place from our past as it exists in the present online. It should be a place that has strong associations for you, a place about which you have a personal definition. Using google street view, wikipedia, google images, local web pages (monuments, historical society, photo archives, associations, tourist information), explore past/present definitions and representations of this location, before, during and after the time in which you lived there.
There are a number of art works online that provide a useful framework for thinking about this assignment. One of the most compelling is “Welcome to Pine Point” by Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge. This site is a media essay funded by the National Film Board in Canada. It takes between 20 and 40 minutes to explore.
Jon Rafman and Michael Wolf are among a number of artists who have trolled Google street view for very temporal images; images that map not only a specific location, but also a specific moment in time. Obviously this is true of all Google street view images, but Rafman and Wolf and others hunt down examples where it is conspicuous.
Rob Hewlitt and Ben Kingsley have taken a different approach to Google Street View; they’ve manipulated what is captured, rather than found what occurred spontaneously.