Walking with Data

This web page is the entry point to a system which tries to enrich real presence (where you are) and merge it with virtual presence (where you are in the data space) by providing data which helps to set you in a larger (or smaller) context. It does this by constantly taking data from the web and using this to give users different and hopefully unexpected perspectives.

As Marc Auge's book 'Non-places' reminds us, many spaces of transience do not hold enough significance to be regarded as 'places'. This work tries to reintroduce significance to our environments, by presenting current and relevant data from a wide range of sources.

Roy Ascott said: "Art, clearly established in our present culture as a form of behaviour(rather than a simple array of images or objects) now takes on the quality of a transaction... we can fully engage in ... speculative restructuring of systems, contemplation of the rich interconnections of events, and the infinite pathways between bonded meanings." [1]

The work also tries to interact with its user, acting as a proxy for the networks around it. It will talk to the user, ask questions, and try to better understand the user.

Physically, the work consists of this web site and your smartphone. When you log on to the site, you download a few small Javascript files. These enable your phone to leverage its abilities to speak and to communicate with the internet, as well as its abilities to sense your location, movement, and so on. By using it, you will help me to develop it further: I hope one day it will become a companion and guide, as well as a node in a network of people.

Please feel free to give a false name: I only need names to distinguish one user from another. The only data the system collects is your movements and your scores; I would rather not know who you are!

If you want to stop the system at any time, just close the web page on your phone. It is standard practice for phones to cache Javascript files like these, so that they can load web pages more quickly in the future, but if you wish you can easily remove the cached files from your phone's browser.

This work first saw daylight at the 4th World Congress of Psychogeography, from 4-6 September 2020, before going on to be part of the Goldsmiths Computational Arts MA/MFA Degree Show from 17-20 September.

A short video is here.

To visit this work, click here!

[1] - from 'Telematic embrace' p 172/3, ed Shanken, 2003