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Gremlin-infested Positioning System

October 2008
Banff, Alberta

The Gremlin-infested Positioning System was a locative media artist project made by Andrew Roth at the Almost Perfect Co-Production residency at the Banff New Media Institute. “What would happen if your GPS device were suddenly to develop a mischievous consciousness that reveled in misinformation, poetic associations, and prognosticating your future? The project GiPS: Gremlin-infested Positioning System, a locative media installation set around Banff, is an answer to that question and a comment on contemporary GPS-based media projects. Using markerless, optical tracking technology and global positioning data in unorthodox ways, I am creating an experience that works both with and against the users’ expectations about the kind of data that ‘should’ be available via GPS. In this outdoor, pedestrian experience, the user is permitted to explore a limited venue with a handheld viewing device; however, the device supplies them with inaccurate and sometimes surreal data. The system becomes riddled with moments of synchronicity that can only be provided by happenstance, coincidence, and the unexplained.” The entire project was built using Max/MSP (and Processing for acquiring raw GPS data).

Finally, almost 3 years after its creation the only existing recording of the complete experience has been successfully retrieved from a corrupted recording. Of course, I blame the gremlins.

How was MAX used?

Max is used in every way imaginable. Initially designed as a prototype tool for creating custom GPS experiences on a laptop computer the idea was to create a modular reusable framework using coll objects for assigning GPS coordinates to a particular movie and for creating lists of text to speech scripts using the aka.speech object. aka.bookmotion provides 2 degrees of freedom for calling up a map and approximating the horizon. cv.jit objects and jit.findbounds are used creatively to emulate markerless tracking (based on luminosity and mass). Dynamic chromakeying, assisted by jit.3m, was also used to create the volcano effect at the end. Special thanks go out to _vade for his glitch effect patch which was used heavily in this work.

Gremlin-infested Positioning System

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