Paths of movement: Negotiating spatial narratives through GPS tracking

Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

  • Department of Aesthetic Studies
  • Digital Design
  • Digital Aesthetics Research Centre
  • Center for Digital Urban Living
As GPS technologies are embedded into mobile devices—and thus everyday life—it has become common to track the location and trajectories of humans as well as objects.While knowing where people and things actually are and have actually been can be interesting, by also engaging with the lives and (hi)stories of both “nomad” and location, factual data is transformed into narrative potential. When location data is layered with everyday life, spatial narratives emerge. This chapter analyzes the artistic practice of Dutch media artist Esther Polak, who demonstrates how location data can be brought to life as narrative material and as a storytelling tool.With her GPS receiver, Polak experiments with ways of access- ing and discussing the many (spatial) narratives that humans, animals, machines, and goods (e.g., dairy products) create in their everyday trajectories. Through an analysis of Polak’s works, and with theoretical reference to Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and French theorist Michel de Certeau, this chapter discusses how mobile media seem to facilitate an informed (re)engagement with space and the spatial narratives that unfold when people and objects disclose the personal, national, and global stories that are expressed through their paths of movement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Mobile Story : Narrative Practices with Locative Technologies
EditorsJason Farman
Number of pages15
Place of PublicationNew York, USA; London, UK
PublisherRoutledge
Publication year2013
Pages128-142
Chapter9
ISBN (print)978-0-415-64148-7
ISBN (electronic)978-0-203-08078-8
StatePublished - 2013

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