[ISEA2011] Paper: Jackie Calderwood – Hunter Gatherer: mobile participatory media as geo-art-cache


This paper discusses work commissioned by Chrysalis Arts, for a participatory locative media artwork in the North Yorkshire Dales, UK, as part of the Geo Art Cache project launching for visitors in May 2011. Combining locative media, context aware platforms and new forms of ‘experience design’, the work interrogates potential of pervasive media and experimental participatory methods to augment traditional geo-cache; to  appeal to a diverse target audience of artists, geo-cache community and visitors to the national park.

The commission develops ideas from the author’s innovative practice with filmmaking mediascapes, in which the route taken by walkers exploring the landscape informs a unique composition of site-specific sound and image, triggered by GPS, played back on hand-held devices during the walk. Traces of walks and the resultant short films are collated in an online gallery celebrating the diversity of individual experience, improvised within the whole.

Investigations will be presented exploring personal response to landscape, gathered in order to further customise locative media playback. Experiments combine subjective mapping, environmental response colour grids and symbolic landscape (drawing on David Grove’s therapeutic questioning technique, Clean Language). Creative transdisciplinary methods feed into the design of the geo art and user interaction with the cache. Motivation for user collaboration, drift, hunting and gathering, are explored.

Three considered approaches for creative public engagement will be outlined, with a discussion of the decisions made, final form and content of the project, and an evaluation of the challenges, success and opportunities presented through development of the work.

These approaches are: user-generated content through a preliminary workshop facilitating creative and synaesthetic responses (participatory arts), dynamic interaction of geo cache ‘hunters’ (experimental walks) and collaborative online documentary (web gallery/social media).

Technical challenges, platforms used, public response and artistic issues around participatory locative media will be explored. The work will be positioned within the transdisciplinary theoretical framework of the author’s PhD research and thesis, with specific reference to creative improvisation and way-making (Ingold), technicity and individuation (Stiegler), narratology and the visual (Bal), metaphor (Lakoff, Casasanto, Tompkins & Lawley), transdisciplinary theory (Nicolescu) and creative participation (Robinson, Bishop).

  • Jackie Calderwood is an English artist and a PhD candidate with the Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. She is interested in the relationship between creativity, participation, interactive media and modes of revisiting experience – online, on location, relocated in time and space. Jackie has a longstanding freelance practice as a media artist working with community engagement, youth arts, health and education. In her research, Jackie is looking at the factors that contribute to our experience of pervasive media arts, and exploring potential conceptual and embodied frameworks for the mapping of such experience. In particular developing methods to trace, articulate and enhance individual modes of paying attention, of noticing one’s awareness in and of the moment. Research residencies include On The Commons, Banff; Experimental Research Methods, Dundee and the Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol. Jackie received an MA Interactive Media Arts from UWE, Bristol and BA(Hons) Fine Art (Sound & Image) from Bath Spa. She is also an experienced holistic body and energy-work teacher and practitioner.  jackiecalderwood.com   gatherer3.com   jackiecalderwood.blogspot.com