GPS Film is an artwork and invention that creates a new form of film-viewing experience by using the location of the viewer to control the story. From a specially-designed mobile device, a film is assembled in real time based on the location and movement of the person watching it—location-based mobile cinema. Now who we are and where we are can affect the entertainment experience.
The GPS Film project combines device programming, application programming, and cinematic content. A viewer travels with a handheld player that reads his location and physical journey through the capture of GPS coordinates and then plays scenes from a film that occur near his location. As the viewer continues to travel, the next GPS zone is entered, and the film shifts to scenes from that area. Due to the unique design of the script, the resulting film changes with each route, each direction, each speed, and each total distance yet continues a consistent theme, with recurring characters, and an overarching narrative.
People now watch movies on handheld devices on trains, in taxis, on busses, while walking. This new-found mobility is changing how we enjoy cinema. Additionally, game design, interactivity, wikis, and a host of other technologies are affecting the historic concept of a linear narrative and replacing it with spatial narrative forms. We’re becoming used to stories being told by exploring an environment. GPS Film takes these concepts off the computer and back into the real world. Story navigation becomes a physical, viewer-controlled experience, a journey of fiction ties directly to a journey of fact.
- Scott Hessels, Assistant Professor, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Full text (PDF) p. 224-225