How can movement become drawing and encourage people to be more active?

As free runners, athletes, joggers, fell runners, walkers and cyclists travel through the landscape their movements can be captured by mobile technologies and transformed into drawings. We are proposing to work with Clayton Youth Club to produce a new iPhone application that users can download and use while following routes and trails throughout the region.

Accurate location data (GPS), speed, time, acceleration and tilt can all be sensed by the iPhone. Using this data we will develop a new iPhone application that will allow users, particularly free-runners, to turn their movement into drawing, and inscribe action into the high streets and back streets of the region. These drawings will be viewable online, over a google map interface.

We have been developing an iPhone application called ‘comob’ which tracks the social relationships between groups of people, linking their positions in space with connecting lines. Using ‘comob’ as a starting point this project will develop these lines to take on many other qualities and become like tags animating across the map as groups move and swarm in different ways.  By encouraging people to be more experimental with their movement, free-runners using comob can inspire more physical activity from others.

In 1983 the performance artists Linda Montano and Tehching Hsieh spent an entire year tied together with an 8ft piece of rope in order to explore relationships between individuals. We imagine that the rope at times seemed as heavy as a chain, as thin as thread, pliable like elastic, solid and unmoving as iron or dynamic and edgy like an electrcal pulse. Moving outside of ordinary ways of using the street, what would you do if sudden short bursts of speed would turn your normal line into a shower of fireworks? How can the movements of a group through the city become a signature style of drawing and moving? How can the connections between group members be felt, used and visualised in dynamic and creative ways?

Things that we are interested in are:

How does it feel to be connected to others with a line? How are the qualities of the lines different between different people. At a recent workshop people said that their relationships with other people were like ricochets, sparks, clouds, chains, elastic. How could this software be used to make drawings that link individual participants into a group, to make a signature drawing over the city as they run.

How could you play games with this software? What happens if you try to run while always keeping one person safely in the middle of the group?

How can we carry the smart phone?

What clothing, pouch, hat, shoe, backpack could be made to carry the iPhone in optimum position while leaving hands and feet free to carry us through the streets?

How will other people view this?

By using the iPhone app to make their own routes and tracks.

Viewing on googlemaps – these maps can be used as new ways to see the local environment, but as ways of sharing routes and journeys.

As animations and photographs

One of our primary concerns is to use GPS tracking as a creative and dynamic tool, not as a surveillance technique. Part of the project will be to devise ways to locate activity while keeping users safe.

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