[ISEA2006] Artist Statement: Alison Sant — TRACE

Artist Statement

Thousands of WiFI hubs are installed in residential and commercial spaces every day. These hubs extend intentionally and unintentionally into public space, creating an invisible front porch to the houses, apartments and businesses where they are installed. As private space is extended into the public realm, traditional architectural boundaries become blurred by the use patterns that penetrate them. Our understanding of physical space becomes complicated by traces of electronic signals, the way they are formatted, and the information they project to us.
As the dynamics of the material and wireless landscapes begin to mediate our relationship to place, how do we experience the city in new ways? TRACE is a project that examines the interplay of wireless networks with the corporeal experience of the urban landscape. Borrowing from the conventions of cartography, the project produces a series of maps that visualize the wireless landscape. These maps are generated by a software program that runs on a VViFi enabled PDA or a laptop. Each map responds to a different state of the network, examining the binary qualities of being in and out of VViFi range, in locked or unlocked zones, and in areas of unique or default node names. State changes are triggered by participants’ routes through the city. As surveyors of this evolving landscape, they contribute to a collaborative mapping of this hybrid terrain. By making this topography visible, TRACE seeks to reveal the intersection of the physical and immaterial infrastructures of the city. DuringZeroOne/ISEA2006, a cart distributing PDA’s will be available to the general public. Please check the web site for times and locations. The TRACE software is also available for download at www.tracemap.net. TRACE is a project by Alison Sant in collaboration with Rick Johnson, Ryan Shaw, Ram Subramanian, Michael Swaine, and Stamen Design.

  • Alison Sant, Co-Founder/Partner Studio For Urban Projects, San Francisco Bay Area, USA. Founded in 2006 by Alison Sant and Richard Johnson, the Studio for Urban Projects is an interdisciplinary design collaborative that works at the intersection of architecture, urbanism, art and social activism. Our research-based projects aim to provoke change by re-framing perceptions of the city and physically transforming elements of the built environment. Engaging with the broad themes of ecology and urbanism, our projects have taken the form of digital media, exhibitions, publications, audio tours, architectural installations and urban interventions. [source: linkedin.com/in/alison-sant-040a2480] vanalen.org/profiles/alison-sant