[ISEA2011] Paper: Jack Toolin – Here to There and In-between: Commuting through Mediated Perception


“Here to There” will investigate how perceptions about the passageway between home and work, as well as the general relationship between the two, are influenced by various forms of (social) media and data.

Millions of people commute between home and work everyday – the thread that connects one’s personal life to one’s professional life. While many do this by foot or bicycle, the majority of people in developed, industrial cultures commute by car, by bus, or by train. As people move from home to work they pass through intervening communities that may or may not have a resemblance to their own. Commuters generate an idea of these communities’ livelihood, their economic situation, their demographic composition, or even their political persuasion, through the consumption of all forms of media, and possibly without any actual contact with the members of the community itself. Their perception may not be based upon little other than the ‘view out of the window,’ or ‘common wisdom.’

How do commuter perceptions compare to those of the community members, and to the general perception of a community as it can be perceived on the Web in the form of chats, blogs, images, and so forth? The disparity or congruence between commuters’ perceptions of life along the commute may parallel their perceptions of global culture, which may also be ‘viewed out of the window.’ All the while the commuter is immersed in a construct that is both product and producer of interconnected lives.

This research is part of a forthcoming artwork that utilizes locative media, video and Internet search for visualizing connections between commuters, locations, and perceptions; initially this will be in a non-interactive form, and eventually in a real-time installation format. The paper will draw upon the ideas of theorists such as Saskia Sassen, William J. Mitchell, Frederic Jameson, and Malcom McCullough.

  • Jack Toolin is an artist work­ing in new media, dig­i­tal imag­ing, and per­for­mance. His work con­sid­ers con­tem­po­rary life in light of the chang­ing po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, and tech­no­log­i­cal land­scape, and has been pre­sented na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. High­lights in­clude: the Whit­ney Mu­seum of Amer­i­can Art (2002 Bi­en­nial); the Walker Art Cen­ter, Min­neapo­lis, Min­nesota; Ars Elec­tron­ica, Linz, Aus­tria; the San José Mu­seum of Art, San José, Cal­i­for­nia; Foxy Pro­duc­tion, New York City. His work Per­fect View was ex­hib­ited at the Chelsea Art Mu­seum Pro­ject Room in 2010. He was a mem­ber of the new media col­lab­o­ra­tive C5 (1997-2007) which in­ves­ti­gated cul­ture’s re­la­tion­ship to tech­nol­ogy through data vi­su­al­iza­tion, in­stal­la­tion, and per­for­mance ex­pe­di­tion. He is cur­rently a vis­it­ing as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at Pratt In­sti­tute in Brook­lyn, New York, and an ad­junct pro­fes­sor at the Poly­tech­nic In­sti­tute at NYU. He has lec­tured widely, at in­sti­tu­tions such as the Rhode Is­land School of De­sign; Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Berke­ley; the San Fran­cisco Art In­sti­tute; Emer­son Col­lege, Boston; Kibla Mul­ti­me­dia Cen­ter, Mari­bor, Slove­nia; the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art Ri­jeka, Croa­tia; and the Uni­ver­sity of Split, Croa­tia. He holds a B.F.A. in pho­tog­ra­phy from Ohio Uni­ver­sity, and an M.F.A. in in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary prac­tice from San Jose State Uni­ver­sity, US.  jacktoolin.net                c5corp.com

Full text (PDF) p. 2411-2416