Tomorrow is the opening of the exhibition Out Of Play in the National Football Museum in Manchester. One of the works exhibited will be ‘Unruly Pitch’, a collaborative project which I was invited to be part of with Jen Southern, Prof. Chris Speed and Chris Barker.
This project aimed to track and visualise the movement of six players in the annual Uppies and Downies mass football game in Workington. One of the last remaining football games of its kind, the match is played throughout the town centre in an unpredictable game without rules. Using small GPS devices to track the movement of 6 players (only 5 recorded GPS data), the visualisations will reveal some aspects of the game and in particular the irregularity of the pitch.
The final project is composed of 3 different pieces. A printed ‘map’, a replica of the ball engraved with the tracks, and a video drawing the game dynamically with footage in the background. Each of the three pieces convey a different dimension of the game. The map, recalling survey maps, is intend to describe the ‘pitch’. It is a visualisation of the ‘objective data’. Moreover, it gives a reflection of the game from the players internal point of view thanks to the ‘hidden’ interview based text. The video gives an immersive and dynamic vision of the action. However it is also an outside point a view as it is filmed not by a player but a spectator. The ball represents the symbolic aspect of the game, perceived as the ‘Graal’ by the players.
This game could be described as a tactical, organized chaos. Everyone knows in which team everyone they are, even if there is no visual distinction; they have ‘secret’ tactics (like key words, touch codes…) to communicate. It is all about the group and how they are going to move together to get the ball on one or the other side of the town. Jen asked an interesting question regarding this during one of our discussions: how is moving together different to moving individually? The tools used were GPS watches and the result is individual tracks; they are ‘so much about the individual and often visualised as an individual trajectory’ (Jen’s words). What we wanted to convey and study with this work wasn’t the individual interpretation of GPS signals, but how they work in relation to each other. There is something quite unusual with this game as it is both about groups and individuals – as they all play for the same goal but at the end only one player can throw the ball and can keep it as memory of the victory.
Finally another interesting element of the game we talked about during the project was the evolution of the pitch in relation with the modification of the geography of the town and how it modified the game. Some fields are now a construction site, buildings have been demolished or constructed… And because the town, or even further (as there is no rule and no boundaries defined) can be used by the players with no limits. A parallel study of the evolution of the game and the geography of the town could be very interesting.
Here are the 3 elements of the final work. Soon the pictures of the exhibition itself.
The posts and research of Matthew Flintham are very much related to what I am exploring.
With ‘Architecture of Mundane Routines‘ he plays with GPS data and cell tower data collected on phones. He explained that “considering that our phone apps are leaking geodata most of the time, I just wanted to see what an accrued body of this stuff might look like”.
Interesting work by Plan B. It is a very good reference in relation to my own work with MyMap. In a way I am also making a drawing of my life by revealing the map, but instead of having only lines on the white canvas, I am revealing where the user have actually been, making it more like a painting.
“I record everywhere I go (outside) with a GPS. I have been doing this since April 2003. My intention is to develop a sense for the drawing I am making across the surface of the earth with my body every time I move. There are technical reasons for why this is not easy in a building but everywhere I go that is in clear view of the sky, I turn my GPS on and begin recording my location. The initial impulse behind wanting to know what the drawing of my life would look like started when I contemplated leaving London where I was born and grew up and started spending more time in Berlin after 2001. At first I mourned the thought of all that knowledge of how to navigate around London plus all the stories and events that inform how I ‘read’ London being rendered useless in the new city. On further contemplation I realised that Berlin was offering me an option London now denies me – I could chart myself learning about a new city in a way I can’t with London – I could watch myself ‘joining the city up’.” by plan b
“Running Stitch sews together our routes to work, to the sea, and our walks for exercise or shopping with the meandering and more personal journeys we might take within the fabric of the city.”
Running Stitch was a 25sq/m tapestry map, created live in the gallery over four weeks, that charted visitors’ daily journeys through the city.
For Running Stitch, artists Jen Southern & Jen Hamilton re-configured Brighton & Hove by ‘capturing’ its space through the movement of its inhabitants. Visitors to Fabrica were given the opportunity to take a GPS-enabled mobile phone with them to track their journeys through the city centre. These walks around the city resulted in individual GPS ‘drawings’ of the visitor’s movements that were projected live in the gallery to disclose aspects of the city unknown to the artists. Each individual route was sewn into a hanging canvas to form an evolving tapestry that revealed a sense of place and interconnection.
In the years leading up to their exhbition at Fabrica, Jen Hamilton (Canada) & Jen Southern (UK) had been using Satellite Navigation technology to explore urban environments. Data generated from the walking routes that they invited people to take were often processed in their installations to create collaborative and personalised maps. Two previous projects – Distance Made Good:Flow Lines (Morecambe and Lancaster, 2006) and Satellite Bureau (Cardiff, 2005) each involved people in making new maps of their locality determined not by formal topographical or geopolitical conventions, but by their own choice of journey.
On my last post about the different topic I was looking I developed the one on borders.
Since few days I was looking at ‘to be disconnected’ in relation with happiness (the border theme also have a connection with happiness in the way I see it). I looked at the fact that when you work you are expected to answer an email promptly, or the time spending on social media in comparaison with ‘human’ (see this post).
On this topic I am interested in making the ‘invisible’, ‘visible’ (same ideas with the borders, I guess happiness and make the invisible visible are the commun aspect in both cases). Visualise all the data surrounding us all the time.
I am asquint the question: is there a correlation with being more connected? If you are in an environment with less radiation would you spend less time on your mobile?
For that I would like to measure:
• the level of radiation corresponding with location and to see if the person is more connected when there is more waves around (link GPS tracking and, data transfert and level of radiation).
• how much data transferred on a location (link GPS tracking and data transfert) and superpose with the map of coverage
• the number of word exchange with a real person in comparaison with number of word with social media (or time speeding corresponding verbally and on social media)
I guess it is maybe less interesting than the ‘border’ theme, as a lot of people are looking at the subject currently with these app helping to disconnect: Freedom, I Off You, Antisocial, Forest or the wall paper which block radiations, and the WiFi cold spot.
I read that problems linked up with hyper connectivity are more a society issues (we use technology to respond to what is expected from us… ) and not a technical issue. Create more technology to not use technology seems not the right things to do, it is “the cat biting its own tail”.
I don’t think I can come with anything to change today society, because it means to solve a question of hierarchy (have the power, to be disconnected against society expect me to be connected all the time), also job organisation and planification, and finally todays life style (teenagers hyper connected…).