Walking + Drawing Poetics

GPS logs are traces that document our movements in both the physical space of the world, and the virtual space of the Global Positioning System. When visualized over digital maps, both in real-time or after we have finished our journeys, the traces become concrete representations of our trajectories. They are records of our itineraries, material drawings of our routes in hybrid space.

A GPS drawing is a visualization of geolocative data. It is also a media memory of an urban speech act. During the drawing performance one re-appropriates both the physical space of the city and the virtual space of a scientific model of the world (visualized on the screen of the personal navigation device) in order to generate a canvas. Superimposed, these spaces compose a hybrid background where on can draw with our movement as if one had an Ariadne’s thread.

Walking a city and recording our movement with a GPS device is a poetic act on hybrid physical/virtual space. It is a sort of choreography between satellites and the user of a GPS receiver. This dance reveals the ambiguity of such creative media practice. The performer is at the same time “locked” down to the GPS grid, and also is allowed to freely move and draw over a hybrid physical/virtual canvas.

(More on the poetics of walking and GPS drawing in my essay: Urban Labyrinths, Ariadne’s Threads, and GPS Data: Logging and Drawing Trajectories with a GPS Personal Navigation Device.)

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