Sponsored Spot #1

Where is this ?

N 54.56’06.005″ W 002.47’31.575′ was spot in a field I visted in 2015.

This is an image created as part of an art as research project I did to explore how we perceive online and offline spaces.

My old Sony phone gave me a fix through GPS to give me my longitude and latitude. Myself and the phone were in a field near Carlisle. The physical space and myself would have no idea of the long/lat coordinates. But my phone did know this information, not in any conscious way, but it had information about the locations of 12 GPS satellites and had fix from 7 of them. Each sent a signal the equivalent of a light bulb, picked up by a tiny sensor in my phone. The satellites, and thus the American Government who own them would not know where I was. But, in 2015, Google and Vodafone, my network provider would.

The image was posted on Instagram in 2020 as a spoof of online content that is required to be identified by the companies that were responsible for the image. In effect, it is sponsored by Sony, Navstar GPS and WGS84 the creators of the long/lat coordinates. This is another layer of place and space. Then it went on my website as a work of art, Then it will be seen by you on your device. All promulgated by binary code, on a server somewhere, transmitted by data send down cables over land and sea and by microwave though through the air moved via dishes on mast and buildings.

The object you see this on is an example of what Rob Kitchin and Martin Dodge call code/space. In their book ‘CODE/SPACE : Software and Everyday Life’ they discuss the integration of online and offline concepts of space and place, suggesting that some places like airport terminals, offices and supermarket checkouts only function as offline spaces if they are connected to code in online spaces, to cyberspace.

As art as research, I have moved on from my original idea, which was really just to capture an image of where offline and online world meet. At first just out of my own curiosity. This led on to other ideas involving QR codes and barcodes embedded in outdoor places and photographed, which I will post on here, but again, I originally did as an experiment to see what would happen if I digitised analogue spaces. As I decided to put this online, I was interested in where Instagram or my website is, 5 years after `I took the photo in a field by the River Irthing near Brampton, my home. Art as research makes knowledge, the same as other forms of research. But in art as research what is found emerges from the process of looking so cannot be hypothesised and tested as in quantitative research. This makes it by quantitative standards, anecdotal, subjective, emergent and situational. But I think this makes art useful for personal research. I will return to this in other posts. As ever, this is work in progress. This is like a flash on a trail, that tells me where I have been, but not where I am going. The path emerges from the walking.

If you are interested in having a go at saying where this is, contact me or leave a comment or reply below. If you are interested in using art the research outdoor experiences, please get in touch.

Thanks

Chris Reed

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