Positioning the Subject: Surveillance in Digital Mapping


Session Title:

  • Bio-Architectures Virtual Cities: The Revolutionary Human-Machine Community

Presentation Title:

  • Positioning the Subject: Surveillance in Digital Mapping



  • This talk centres around re-mapping the subject using Global Positioning System (GPS). The author will be illustrating points with excerpts of my recent work created in New York City. The work Drifting: Position Drawings is a series of large format digital drawings and computer animations. The data is collected by dancers in the Cheng dance group, who are wearing GPS receivers while performing a choreographed work in the streets of Manhattan. The work explores tracking movement in urban spaces, the immediacy of satellite data and the range of error in GPS signals due to government control. GPS was used during the Gulf War by the United States Department of Defense to track missiles and locate targets.
    GPS’s particular enframing of locality and territory provided the starting points for my investigations. Wollensak seeks to use the representations of movement and time in a manner beyond the literal streams of recorded data. Questions addressed include: where are the lines drawn between freedom and surveillence, absolute and relative, the recording of time and experience of time? The work examines the conditions and controlling factors that define where we are and our relation between electronic and physical locality.