Walking With Satellites

9 June 2016


Venue: Meet in the Barbican (Silk Street Entrace by Advance Box Office - EC2Y 8DS)

Organiser: Christopher Wood

Christopher Wood is an artist and researcher with a background in sound installation and radio production. He is increasingly interested in the textures and seams which emerge when technology constructs space and place. His work has been exhibited internationally. He is currently working on a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London. http://wordthecat.com

This walking workshop explores the relationship between the GPS satellite network and the way a sense of location is constructed by both people and machines. We will walk around the Barbican Estate while using an app that provides diagnostic information about how many GPS satellites are in view and the accuracy of the location fix. I’ve chosen the Barbican because, besides being a interesting location visually, the architecture creates points where GPS fails and cannot triangulate a position. These points of failure can help orient us within the GPS network and get a better sense of its limits and capabilities.

After the walk, we’ll work with pens and paper to try and document the experience of walk from both a human and satellite point-of-view. This takes it in some speculative directions. How are spaces and places understood by machine infrastructures? What sense can these infrastructures make of space when their sensors fail? What kind of hybrid senses are we developing for ourselves as we rely more and more on our devices?

Note: please bring an android device with GPS if you have one. Apple’s iOS does not make this sort of information available from the GPS sensor, so the app does not work on iPhone.