“The most interesting ways of looking at the GPS grid, what it is, what we do with it, what we might be able to do with it, all seemed to be being put forward by artists. Artists or the military. That’s something that tends to happen with new technologies generally: the most interesting applications turn up on the battlefield, or in a gallery.”

says Bobby Chombo a locative media programmer in William Gibson’s novel ‘Spook Country’ (2007)

In his paper ‘Locative-Media Artists in the Contested-Aware City‘ Anthony Townsend discusses a similar theme in more depth. (Leonardo, volume 39, Issue 4)

“The rapid deployment of top-down context-aware systems and the lack of holistic, sustainable, human-centred visions for aware cities has created an enormous intellectual vacuum. Into this breach have stepped artists who are co-opting this new “locative media” to highlight the flaws of these visions but also to raise fundamental questions about the nature of public space and surveillance.”

“By engaging these technologies and their social and spatial implications, artists are shaping the evolution of a space-changing technology far earlier than they ever have in the past.”

“The artists of tomorrow with have to explore the meaning of perception in a world in which we will have outsourced many of our perceptive tasks to machines, to extend and augment our abilities.”

The dangers of this position are discussed by Tuters and Varnelis (Beyond Locative Media)

“The reluctance of many locative-media practitioners to position their works as political has led some theorists, such as Andreas Broeckmann, to accuse locative media of being the “avant-garde of the ‘society of control'”

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