[ISEA2011] Paper: Tapio Mäkelä – Demapping Location


Locative arts could be better described as relational arts, as very few artworks created using GPS or other location data address location as such, but rather movement, relationships between participants, relation to place and its multiple histories. As such, locative arts conceptually demap location as a Cartesian dot on a geographical scale and suggest that sites are experienced as they are performed, visited, and played at.

Paradoxically, locative used to mean stationary, not in movement in military discourse. In several languages the locative case indicates “a place where”. And indeed, locative arts share that preposition, bringing participants to places where they play, discover, learn, and communicate. In other words, to experience locative arts, you have to be on the move, and not locative.

In my talk, based on three years of research I will discuss locative art projects by Blast Theory, Christian Nold and Esther Polak as practices of demapping location and offering ways to perform sensory and social relations.

  • Tapio Mäkelä is a researcher and a media artist based in Helsinki, Finland. He works with Marin Association and Translocal to produce art and science residencies, locative art work and games. He was recently  an AHRC Research Fellow with department of Creative Technology, School of Art and Design, University of Salford. Research interests include social and cultural uses of location based media and environmental interaction and information design. Tapio Mäkelä is a former director of Artist Association Muu, and programme chair of ISEA2004.