LoVid's iParade


Locative media art responds to two of the most definitive social issues of our times: the reorganization of everyday life by mobile computing technologies and the seeming assurance of ecological disaster in the foreseeable future. These two developments are often described as conflicting with one another: our digital interfaces dismantle spatial obstacles, bringing once-remote locales into proximity with hyperlinks, projecting us into “non-places.” And yet, according to many environmental thinkers, any hope for sustainability requires that humanity reverse the psychic effects of this trend: we must divert our attention away from our screens and back to the physical world around us, creating local community and a sense of place. Locative media art works squarely within this tension inhabiting our post-nature, new media culture, using digital networks to augment engagement of geographic space, to facilitate what Christiane Paul calls “context awareness.”

On June 7 and 9, Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus of LoVid will début their new mobile phone app, iParade#2: Unchanged When Exhumed, a 2011 Rhizome commission and the first major piece in their new locative-media art series. iParade#2 uses GPS data to access video, sound, and stories available only in specific spots within the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Harlem. Tali and Kyle described the work to me as "experimental locative cinema" or "locative video,” as cinema and video that “offers a new option using GPS and mobile media technology.” Their press release suggests that the app be thought of as an adventure and a sort of game: participants will “explore” not only historic landmarks but also “urban mysteries”—though the mysteries remain unsolved. Ultimately, as is true to all locative media works, iParade#2 seeks to “renew viewers’ appreciation of their physical environment.” Since I will be abroad during the premiere, LoVid offered to give me a ...