GeoTales workshop BLOG

Black Trails continues!

April 5th, 2009

The Black Trails project will be presented at Micronomics festival under the name of Undocumented trails, in May 09!


“The Undocumented Trails project will set up a marketplace where the public can ‘contract’ Sans Papiers workers through a simulated documentation procedure. This process seeks to exchange points of urban experience between the public and un-documented workers.

The work that will be traded is atypical: the workers need to walk every single street in a defined zone of Brussels with a GPS track logger. Upon the return from their trip, the GPS data is visualised and evaluated, so that at the end of the Micronomics festival the entire map of central Brussels will be colored meticulously. Walked routes are negotiated, traversing zones of mutual engagement – underscoring and stimulating a space for empowering working conditions. The streets and the visualized tracks become a testing ground to accentuate issues of documentation and migrancy, literally leaving a ‘paper trail’.

The absurdity of the work is a provocation that enlists everyone to activate and contribute to this collaborative and detourned micro-economy.”

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suivez / segua / follow

March 5th, 2009

a project from the laboratory of interruptions
alessandro carboni
dana cooley
ingrid simon


Arguably, the act of walking took on a new significance in the early 20th century with the appearance of the figure of the flâneur. Later, artists such as Vito Acconci (Following Piece (1969)) and Sophie Calle (Suite Vénitienne (1980) and La Filature (The Shadow) (1981)), for example, continued this trajectory of ambulatory enquiry, emphasizing the critical potential contained in the act of walking. The project we developed in the workshop follows in the footstep of this tradition of walking as a form of artistic inquiry.

suivez / segua / follow’s premise is simple: use a stranger as a catalyst to explore the city in new ways. With this project we also wanted to investigate the tensions between subjective and objective mapping. In order to do so, we devised a set of simple, yet strict rules:
1. we would all begin at the same location and, in a predetermined order, each would follow a stranger and record both a GPS and audio track
2. when one of us could no longer follow our subject (they went in a building, boarded a bus, train, etc.) that person would send an SMS message saying ‘change’ to the other two, who would then have to stop their current course and proceed to follow the next person to pass by
3. after the allotted time for the experiment (30 mins) all of us would cease our following and recording Read the rest of this entry »

suivez/segua/follow : notes by Esther

March 4th, 2009

by Alessandro Carboni, Dana Cooley and Ingrid Simon

This project specifically aimed at doing research after the theme of the workshop: the subjective versus objective mapping. This project also set a simple set of rules: the trhee team members start together at a given location in Brussels. All of them pick arbitrary a different passer-by to follow. Soon the team members lose sight of each other. As soon as one of the passersby goes in doors, the follower texts (sms)  to the other two team members the word “change”, and all need to change to following another passerby.

After half an hour the experiment stops. During the experiment the team members did GPS log their route and did sound record their comments on the experience in their different native languages (Italian, English and French). At the presentation in Friday, the GPS tracks were shown using software. And the three soundtracks were played simultaneously, re-creating the cityscape of the experiment.


GPS-tracks on the right next to the 3 soundtracks



Other possible vizualisation using

During the experiment the team members’ experience of the city was totally different than normal. Especially the experience of hope and expectation was altered: the disappointment when the message change came and reveal an fast evolving attachment to the by-passer that was followed, at other moments one hoped to be set free from a certain loop, or being caught in a small area. The team hopes to develop the project further in future: and find forms to ad a layer of fiction to their scripts.

Black Trails: notes by Esther

March 4th, 2009

by Thomas Laureyssens, Tina Bastajian and Simona Sofronie

Opposite to the street of the iMAL location, several street corners can be found where different groups of ‘black’ workers (a.k.a.: sans papier or undocumented workers) gather in hope for that somebody passing by offers them a day job. The Black Trails project team set out to meet these people and interact with them. As a form of direct interaction they decided to hire three black workers to make visible the position of illegal workers in the Brussels economy, to walk every street in a set area of Brussels center, in this way covering it totally with GPS tracks.

The team decided not to track the daily routine of the workers, or asked them what they would like to track themselves. Instead, hired them to execute specific GPS-collecting tasks, decided by the team. Two of the three workers or participants were at the presentation on Friday evening to comment on their experience as GPS track collectors. The participants discussed the problems they faced with reading the paper map that was given to them, as a guideline; one worker asked a policeman for help, but it turned out that a postman knew better.


Mohammed explaining his GPS tracks

This intervention raises several daring questions, firstly on interactive art and the position of participants in it. For example the ownership of the data produced, in this case GPS-tracks and map data. Although the participants were paid, one can for example raise the question if they still have author rights over the tracks. During the presentation the audience asked whether the team considered uploading the GPS data to ‘Open Street Maps’ and what this conceptually might mean for the general user of open street map data.

GPS - VIDEO scape: notes by Esther

March 4th, 2009

by Stéphan Piat

Stéfan Piat works already for some time on clever ways of placing different video clips of a specific real city space in an interactive, collage like interface. In his work the audience is invited investigate the recorded city-scape in a way that one could compare with moving through spaces in computer games. As he mixes in different times of the year, encounters with by passers and animals, footage of his own footsteps,  his work results in a remarkable poetic and surrealist experience of space.

To be able to develop his work further Stéfan concentrated devoted himself for the four workshop days on the technological development of a tool that will be able to make collages of video clips in an spatial arrangement organized by actual GPS recordings made during the shooting of the clips.


Stéfan had to develop more ore less from scratch. He used Processing to read the GPS data into Pure Data, and used the time tags of both GPS and video clips/stills to organize them on the computer screen. The goal is to be able to edit video footage in space. Stéfan plans to be able to also use tilt sensor, so the the movements not only represent the replacement of the camera, but also the direction of the lens.


A guide for getting lost: notes by Esther

March 4th, 2009

by Denis Balencourt and Caroline Zeller

Denis and Caroline worked on perception of space in Brussels. As they both grew up and live in Brussels, they realized that for them it is difficult to get lost this city, and experience they nevertheless miss.

The project juxtaposes three different experiences of Brussels at the same time: the taken for granted  familiarity with the city as experienced by the people living there, the possibilities for getting lost despite of this familiarity by means of being blindfolded and guided trough and the objective registration and visualization of that tour by GPS.

The interactive project they developed is an attempt to get lost no matter how familiar the surroundings are. The project resulted in a small hand out set to: consisting of
-a written script
-a blindfold.
-a set of cards and marker
Equipped with this set, two participants can play the game of GETTING LOST. One participant plays the role of guide; the other plays the role of the blinded. Both set out on a walk trough Brussels. Starting on a familiar spot, the guide’s task is to get the blindfolded participant in a state of “being lost”. During the experiment, at set time intervals the guided participant writes down the name of the place where he/she thinks he is. A picture of the guided participant holding the card is taken. As soon as the guided participant feels to be truly lost, he/she indicates that with “I am lost” card. The actual route taken is GPS recorded and being shown to the guided participant after completing the tour. The participant now experience to the full what is means to get lost.

During the presentation of the project on Friday night, a tour made during that day was presented by guide and guided participant. The first was one of the team members, the second was an invited participant. During the presentation the guided participant was presented her own GPS tracks, in public and realized she had been even more lost that she thought.

A guide for getting lost

February 28th, 2009

“A guide for getting lost” is a project by / “Un guide pour se perdre” est un projet de Caroline Zeller & Denis Balencourt.

“Ce guide permet de mettre en oeuvre une ballade pour se perdre. Il offre la possibilité de ne plus savoir où l‘on est dans un lieu pourtant familier. Il propose d’emmener un ami en voyage dans sa ville pour qu’il s’y égare.

Pour ce faire vous devrez guider une personne ayant les yeux bandés.
A vous de lui proposer un parcours qui mettra son sens de l’orientation et ses perceptions à l’épreuve.”

During the workshop, Denis and Caroline invited belgian’s writter Valérie Nimal and tried to get her lost in her own city, Brussels… They recorded  her walks with a GPS smart phone and asked her to explain her traject, and to tell when she felt lost.



If you want to get lost in you own town, find the guide here:

GeoTales hits the streets!

February 25th, 2009

First GPS tracking trials with IPhone, Garmin Gekko and other smart phones…

All the walks have been recorded on, (EveryTrail is a global web2.0 platform for geotagged generated travel content) mostly used to share family and holiday trips. As the tracks are public they can be downloaded by anybody.  Here you will find our first documented walks around iMAL:




Of course, it looks a bit hectic sometimes… but it gives a different approach:

Molenbeek_v1 with pictures

Widget powered by EveryTrail: GPS Community

GeoTales workshop participants

February 24th, 2009

Denis Balencourt (BE), Musician, developer, VJ, blogger

Tina Bastajian (US/NL),  film & media artist

Alessandro Carboni (IT), Multidisciplinary artist, performer

Michel Cleempoel (BE), media artist

Dana Cooley (UK), video artist

Thomas Laureyssens (BE), media artist and teacher in Public Space

Stéfan Piat (FR/BE), visual & media artist

Ingrid Simon (BE), media artist

Simona Sofronie (NL), media architect

Caroline Zeller (FR/BE), student in Urban Space

GeoTales Public Presentation

February 24th, 2009

First day of GeoTales has featured geolocated projects presentations by  Daniel Belasco Rogers from Plan B (UK/DE), Matthias Stevens (BE), Gwenola Wagon (FR) and Esther Polak (NL).


Daniel in front of his GPS tracks drawings; “The Drawing of my life” (2003-present).


Matthias and Gwenola presenting Moillesullaz 1:1, a locative soundscape installation.


Esther and her project MILK.