Event Venues

Symposium Venue – Owae Marae

Address: 16 North St, 4320, Waitara, New Zealand
View SCANZ – Owae Marae in a larger map

The SCANZ 2011: Eco sapiens symposium is being held as a hui at Owae Marae. Therefore the event is organised as an all-pitch-in arrangement, where we everyone will be helping out with making our own meals together, and sleeping in the shared space of the large wharenui (central meeting house) together, as is customary.


Exhibition In-progress Venue – 109 Devon Street West, New Plymouth

Address: 109 Devon Street West, New Plymouth, New Zealand

A number of the SCANZ 2011: Eco sapiens creative residency projects will in development during the residency period of two weeks, in the public space of 109 Devon Street West. All are welcome to come by and talk with the artists and discuss their projects.


Festival of Lights

Pukekura Park as a Residency Project Venue
A botanical park and garden in central New Plymouth, which is being outfitted with wifi mesh and other implementations that artists and other groups will be able to activate. This is also where the Festival of Lights event is held, of which some of you will be involved. Our meeting point for our events within the Park will be at the Band Rotunda.

Festival of Lights

Friends of Pukekura Park: About the Park

Artist Talks

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Public Events such as Artist Talks
40 Queen Street, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Phone: +64-6 759 6060 | http://govettbrewster.com
Opening hours – 10.00am—5.00pm daily (Closed Christmas Day)

Sustainable Education Projects

Puke Ariki
‘What If?’ exhibition and 60 Springs sustainability education project
1 Ariki Street, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Phone: +64 (6) 759 6060 | http://www.pukeariki.com/
Opening Hours – M, T, Th, Fr – 9.00am—6.00pm
Late night Wednesday – 9.00am—9.00pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays – 9.00am—5.00pm

Other Accommodation

Accommodation on Bell

Please note that if you are in need of accommodation on the 13th due to the early start on the 14th, we recommend Accommodation on Bell. This is also the main residency accommodation for the two weeks following the symposium, and is central to New Plymouth, on the WITT polytechnic campus.

Each of the rooms contain:
* Double or twin single beds
* En-suite toilet/shower
* TV
* Fridge
* Desk or table
* Tea & coffee making facilities
* Bed linen, towels & toiletries
* Telephone and internet connections

Those at Bell have offered the same fantastic rate for those coming for this event, as they have given us for the residency. For those needing to make bookings, the prices and booking contacts are below.

$200 per week
$50 per night

A big thank you to Accommodation on Bell – ♥ – we are very appreciative of this offer.

They can also arrange for airport shuttles to take you between the airport and their premises ($10 per person, per way).

Email: info@accommodationonbell.co.nz
Phone: (06) 968-3002
Physical: The lower entrance is via Hendrie Street
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Other New Plymouth Accommodations

To find accommodation elsewhere in New Plymouth, please see:

Open Call – 2011 Hui/Symposium

SCANZ 2011: Eco sapiens — Hui/Symposium Presentations

Dates: 14-16th of January, 2011
Location: Owae Marae, Waitara, Taranaki

An interdisciplinary discussion on the future of human evolution. How can we re-imagine our relationship with nature?

We invite short presentations from artists, scientists, and cultural commentators on the topics below:


Perspectives on a Species

Scientific, cultural and historical worldviews on energy, ecology and ourselves.
Examples: scales & systems of the universe, human-scale vs geological time perception, evolutionary biology and the human animal, biodiversity, environmental psychology and cultural heritages.


Ecoliteracy & Cultural Adaptation

Adaptive processes and nurturing an ecological literacy and awareness.
Examples: language, novelty and neurology in adaptive processes, sensorial information and learning, food nurturing and nutrition. Citizen science, wonder and imagination. Ideas on the interrelatedness of global systems, complexity and systems thinking.


Rethinking ‘Resources’

Energy and worldviews, ecology and economics, related historical and current views water, soil and land use. Food production/distribution politics.
Examples: co-beneficial relationships. Developing long-term views. Energy, information structures and value systems. Ecoservices and ecological economics. Sustainable consumption and food security and related issues.


Hui/Symposium Overview:


Submit a Presentation Proposal:

December 14, 2010
(please note date update)
Earlier indications/questions are most welcomed.

Enquiries to:

Intercreate is a non-profit, project-based research centre which consists of an international network of people interested in interdisciplinary creativity.


Any sharing with your networks of others who might be interested will be very much appreciated.



Your thoughts, questions, suggestions and ideas are welcomed, so if easier, please don’t hestitate to send us a quick email at: i n f o @ i n t e r c r e a t e . o r g.

Open Workshop Day

Date: 16th of January, 2011
Time: 9.00am marae welcome (Please be prompt).
Location: Owae Marae, Waitara, Taranaki

Come Along and Join Us for the Day!

As a way for the event to feed into and encourage existing local energies, the third day of the hui/symposium will be an open day where everyone is welcome to come and join. 

Below are some of the workshops currently planned from symposium & residency participants. To help us organise for the right numbers, please register your interest for any of these workshops here.


Stone soup – Sophie Jerram

Please bring an ingredient for lunch. Bring some carrots you have picked, a herb you love, or a local delicacy or food item from your region – it doesn’t have to be home grown. Come with a small story as to why you have brought it and energy to prepare the food. We will create some alchemy in the kitchen.
Location: Wharekai/Kitchen   Duration: 3 hrs
Materials: Bring an ingredient, however much you would like.

Toothbrushes of Perception — Michael Paulin and Andrew Hornblow

Mr. Blue Bristlebot

Mike Paulin Associate Professor of Zoology at Otago University will talk about the beginings of perception and the evolution of the first animals and nervous systems over 500 million years ago, relating this to emergent behaviour in simple robots. He is joined by robotics educator Andrew Hornblow to lead a bristlebot workshop where you can learn how to create a small fast moving robot. Suitable for children, youth and adults. Material fees to be announced. With thanks to Greenbench.org.
Previous Toothbrushes of Perception workshop at Greenbench

Duration: 2 hours

Materials: Kits are $4.

Discussion of Biomodd Project — Angelo Vermeulen

Results of the recent workshop in Maribor, Slovenia

Angelo will talk in greater depth about the Biomodd workshop project, a collaborative design workshop between technologists and those knowledgeable in plants and ecologies, to design an integrated system. (Interested? Participants can sign up now!).

On sunday, Angelo wishes to invite discussion from symposium participants and local people around the region to discuss the ideas of the project, ideas around man’s relationship with nature, and to learn about the relevant local cultural mythologies and stories, arts, conceptions of ecologies. Definitely join for the discussion if you are interested to attend the workshop. Local participants are also encouraged to see if they might have any of the materials required handy, that you could bring along!
Duration: Up to 2 hours
Workshops Information:  Biomodd Workshop
Workshop Materials Requested

Meke my Waka Paika — Jonah Marinovich

Green Bikes is a community bike recycling scheme (fixing, modding, reselling very cheap or giving away) which Jonah Marinovich will be running a mini version of in New Plymouth during the SCANZ 2011: Eco sapiens event. On sunday Jonah will be demonstrating how to make a streel trailer for your bike. You can go here to learn more of what Jonah will be doing as part of the Miniature Green Bikes scheme over the two weeks following the SCANZ symposium.
Time: Intermittently all day.

Live Food Café — Dhyana Beaumont

Come and join Dhyana for food-foraging expeditions, and then learn how to make yummy smoothies out of leafy greens that even your kids would love! Pair that up with her pedal-powered bike blender, and you’ll be able to imagine your kids making YOU breakfast in the morning. Dhyana creates a connecting device between the power of fresh nutrient-rich food, and the pragmatic politics of finding or growing sources of fresh food today. As part of the food celebrations of the day, Dhyana will be demonstrating her green smoothie recipes with symposium participants and local people.
Materials cost: gold coin koha.    Materials request: Local fresh ingredients welcome!
Time starting: 10am  Duration: 2.5 hours

Thriving in a World of Complexity: using Living Systems Thinking Andree Mathieu and Peter Goldsbury

On this workshop we will question long held assumptions and knowledge about how we make things happen in complex environments, communities and organisations where things are seldom black and white.  That will involve us better understanding the nature of complexity itself, its networks, dynamics, ambiguities, patterns and how the new emerges within in it.  In this domain we need to be prepared to replace our simple and complicated “problem solving” and “change management” processes with more effective ways involving networks,  inter-dependence,  win-win alliances and telling new stories that lead us towards the long term outcomes we all seek – far beyond just today’s sustainability practices. Living Systems Thinking is about taking lessons from nature and applying them (sometimes called Biomimicry).  The Tipu Ake ki te Ora Organic Leadership model (www.tipuake.org.nz), the Cynefin Framework, a range of other participative exercises and fun will be used to help us do that. Its all about growing team behaviours and organic leadership that can exploit our collective wisdom and co-creative power.
Time: 2 hours

Terraquaculture – the beautiful landscapes of foresters, gardeners, fishers – Peter Heard

–        the traditional farming system of the Pacific-Asia region
–        farming the water flowing through the landscape

Peter Heard will do a further presentation and discussion of this ancient traditional farming system. Interested in the beauty and productivity of the method, Peter and his partner Kama Burwell are creating a terraquaculture farm on a corner of their family farm in Taranaki. Peter will share some of their learning about the system, and the visual culture that represents it.
Time: 1 hour

WANTED: Your Old Bikes for SCANZ 2011

We need your bikes, helmets, locks, lights, tools etc and anything else you think might be useful!

The Let’s Go project is keen for the more than 20 artists, scientists and presenters from SCANZ 2011 to go by foot, bike or bus for the duration of their stay in New Plymouth (13-30 January 2011).

Unused/unwanted bikes will be refurbished for use by our Eco sapiens guests as part of the Miniature Green Bikes scheme. On conclusion of their residency the bikes will be sold to the public, with all proceeds going to Hive Taranaki, our regional environment centre.

Three ways to donate your bike:

1. Drop off at WITT reception before January 11.
2. Drop off at New Plymouth District Council reception on Tuesday 11 January between 1-5pm.
3. Email benefieldn@npdc.govt.nz to arrange for your bike to be collected.

About Let’s Go

A package of works funded by NZTA and local partners to ‘fast track’ a community that can change travel behaviour through improved transport choices. More information about the Let’s Go project is available on the New Plymouth District Council site.

Sustaining Collaborative Practice – Local Time

Abstract: As a collective we intend to use the platform of SCANZ to support a specific research project on interdisciplinary artistic collaboration. Artists and cultural organisers have periodically developed new collaborative initiatives to take a more active role in determining the agenda and context for their work. This has often been response to institutional and critical environments which fail to support interdisciplinary aesthetic, political and agendas for creative practice.

Whether conceived as an artistic collective, or a broader organisational platform supporting other aspects of production, such collaborations face a unique range of challenges. Institutions usually endure precisely because they are not centred around cultural production, instead they conform to an established set of expectations about their role. How do we sustain platforms for collaboration which are responsive to emerging creative practices? What are the critical issues such collaborations face and what opportunities do they have to sustain and develop practice under conditions of globalisation? In the move from individual practitioner to collective, what kinds of documentation strategies are required to enable the sharing of experience and conceptual development? These are the questions we intend to research on the residency.

Local Time based a project in Taranaki in 2008, organising an arts project for the Parihaka International Peace Festival. We see the residency as an opportunity to extend the relationships we have in that community, and to create links into the community of practitioners in SCANZ. Our project intends, firstly, to collaboratively research existing theory and practice in the field of artistic collaboration; and secondly, to interview the other interdisciplinary practitioners who are on the residency about their experiences and insights into collaborative practice. Our aim with the meeting is to provide a context to share practices and experiences, develop support networks, and strengthen underlying philosophies. We expect that this research will eventually result in the publication of a book.

Local Time are a collective of four established artists, curators, and writers who facilitate art projects and events, with a particular emphasis on issues of local and indigenous knowledge. Members of Local Time have coordinated significant international symposia and hui such as Cultural Futures: Place, Ground, and Practice in Asia Pacific New Media Arts (2005) and Cultural Provocation: Art, Activism and Social Change (2003).

Local Time – http://local-time.net

Danny Butt – http://dannybutt.net

Jon Bywater – http://jonbywater.net

Natalie Robertson – http://natalierobertson.com

Alex Monteith – http://alexmonteith.com

Danny Butt

Danny Butt lectures in Critical Studies at Elam School of Fine Arts, National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, University of Auckland. He has written, lectured and consulted widely on new media, culture, and development. He is on the working editorial committee for the Digital Review of Asia Pacific, and an associate member of The ORBICOM International Network of UNESCO Chairs in Communications. He is a Certified Management Consultant and a partner at Suma Media Consulting. He is on the SCANZ residency as part of the Local Time collective.

The Local Time Collective consists of Alex Monteith, Natalie Robertson, Danny Butt and Jon Bywater.


How does forced intimacy, close proximity, random knowledge alter people and their outputs – whether that be text, exhibitions, festivals, artworks, etc – rather than how a particular audience interaction effects a discrete artwork.

The connecting metaphor of string… something which binds, yet is temporary, flexible and easily accessible, is the perfect of these residencies which impact in so many ways on people – changing their practice, instigating long term friendships, and creative and intimate partnerships.

The project will be writing on this from observations, images, questions of and with the other participants on affect. However the last thing I want this to be is evocative of Big Brother or surveillance or reality investigations. This is insightful, respectful, lyrical and non-invasive connective investigation….

Wikipedia says:

* Stringer (journalism), a type of freelance journalism.
* In geology, a stringer is an irregular filament or a narrow vein of one or more minerals traversing a rock mass.

* In metallurgy, a stringer is an elongated body of microconstituents or foreign material aligned in the direction of working (usually hot rolling) in wrought materials. In most cases, the material of the stringers is sulfide, or clot gated oxide. The presence of stringers in materials is undesirable, as the stringers cause the material to be brittle with anisotropic properties.

* In construction, a stringer is a horizontal member used to connect upright members, as in the frame of a building. Usually the stringers are long, relatively thin pieces which provide support and definition to the skin of a structure.

* At a steel mill, stringer is the name given to a coil of steel used to thread or guide material through a production line.

* In aviation and boat building, a stringer is a strip of wood or metal used in a manner similar to building construction.

* In angling, a stringer is a length of fishing line, wire, or chain, to which a fisherman will attach his catch.

* In metallic, polymeric or composite material sintering, the term stringering refers to the amount of binding contact between powdered materials.

* In stairs, a stringer is a timber (usually 2″x12″) that supports the treads and risers in a staircase.

Melinda Rackham

I regularly write and speak on the intertwining cultural issues and aesthetic, technological and conceptual shifts in networked, distributed, multi-user, game and mobile environments.

After over a decade of engagement with emergent practices and innovative technologies as a pioneering net artist, writer, curator, media consultant and cultural producer, I’m still excited by potentialities.

I was the first Curator of Networked Media at the Australian Centre for Moving Image, and in 2002 I established the -empyre- online critical theory forum.

Currently I am the Director of the Australian Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) – Australia’s leading cultural organisation working at the intersection of art, research, science and emerging technologies to generate new creativities.

Web Sites

Walking art and a short introduction – Brett Stalbaum for C5

Walking has a long history;-) But its role and history in the arts and humanities is a bit more obscure than it is in the social sciences where the cultural/historical role of walking is better studied. (For example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songlines.) In philosophy there were the peripatetics such as Aristotle, who taught philosophy while strolling in the Lyceum of ancient Athens. Others such as Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Søren Kierkegaard and Walter Benjamin are also known to have done a lot of their thinking while taking walks. Artists too have been interested in walking and quite a number have based their work in and around on the creation of walks. This is a terrain I have worked as well, and one that I’m looking forward to traversing with you on the Pukekura Park Demonstration/Environment and Sustainability GPS Tours project. Trudy lane suggested that I give you at least a coarse mini-history of the kind of artists and artworks for context. Of course it is very much off the top of my head as I sit in the airport in San Diego waiting to board. But here it is.

As someone who identifies myself as an artist of the American West, I first note that my cultural inheritance is unavoidably linked to the European colonization of the North American continent, much of which was very unpleasant, and some of which was shamefully genocidal. A familiar story around the world I suppose. My wife Paula Poole and I are avocational archeology nerds who spend a lot of time in remote regions of the Great Basin desert (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Basin) visiting Native American petroglyph sites created by people who were among the first groups of people to walk into north America. We do feel an affinity for these special but now unpopulated sites, which are often difficult to visit, and which can be aesthetically breathtaking and intriguingly abstract. But it is an affinity that is also much removed from us, and we are aware of our inability understand these cultural treasures in any other context than that of archeology. In most cases the people who created them no longer exist to explain them, and their ancestors too are often left to guess.

Another influence is romantic American landscape painting of the American west. Artists such as Albert Bierstadt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Bierstadt) had to walk a great deal in their relatively difficult travels across the continent in order to pursue their romantic goal of capturing the sublime in their pictorial representations, and of course we recognize that the national expansionism of the time is unavoidably embedded in the ideology of these representations. This work is of course not “walking art” per se. The point is that the intersection of walking and art still has a number of under-explored relationships, some that map to quite contemporary issues. Explorers such John C Fremont (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._Fremont) were trained in both cartography and art, the latter order to perform field sketches of plants and landscape along their journeys. (1) Much of the exploration of the American west thus produced geo-referenced representations of the landscape, similar in concept to geo-tagged images you can find in Google maps and Flikr today. Of course, this kind of relationship between cartography and hand-drawn pictorial representation of the landscape is a much older story, indeed as old as cartography itself. There are also some connections between work I have been involved with and the notion of the sublime pursued by romantic era artists and explorers, but that would be an unnecessarily tumid topic for the Pukekura project. (If you want, have a look at this: http://www.paintersflat.net/ylem.html).

The above are what I perceive as my more obscure, or more personal/national influences on the kinds of walking works that interest me today. There are many current and relatively recent artists whose work more directly engages with walking as art, and art and cartography.

It is impossible to ignore the influence of Guy Debord and the Situationist movement on the current imaginary around GPS and mobile phone art practices; to a degree that I am getting a little sleepy just writing a single sentence about it. In the coarsest summary, psychogeographers like Debord were interested the concepts of derive (drifting) and detournment (to make the normal appear strange), in order to promote greater consciousness of class and economic relations, and of course to produce new, experimental art practices. For example, ad nauseam, exploring Paris with a map of London, or walking a city in a pattern of some kind: walk two blocks, walk left one block, right one more block, turn around 180 degrees and repeat. It is actually a very nice way to explore a city, and to the degree that the knowledge gained might actually impinge on social relations, so goes the use value of psychogeography. The project we will be working on, creating GPS/mobile phone guided tours of Pukekura Park, will no doubt inherit something from psychogeography’s example. But from inside of this world of artists doing this general kind of thing, Situationism’s legacy may have been claimed once too often by now, and sometimes to purposes quite different from (or even contradictory to) the radical situationist agenda.

So where I will go from here is to present a series of examples and why I think they are important. With not so much humility, I will mention some of the work I have done with C5 and paintersflat.net in the context of these influential examples. Much of the work I will discuss operates in the art world under the sign of “locative media”. You can look at locative media’s entry in wikipedia for more information, and you might notice that the “definition” has taken on not so subtle expressions of a desire to be seen as operative within the realm of the social and political. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locative_media) And I suppose we could talk about panoptism and surveillance while we are on the topic of mobiles and GPS (often worried over as technologies of social control), or on flash mobs and activist uses of phones (where the social control aspects of new technology are inverted, facilitating democratic or sometimes mob action.) But this little note is already getting a little long, and these issues also are well worn as topics for mobile projects, no matter how important they are.

The Pukekura Park project too, in that it is intended to create an interpretive educational layer for sustainability issues in the park, is unavoidably situated under some sign of “the social”. But when it goes to the definition of locative media, at least qua the art world, I prefer to think in more general terms so as not to disclude any locative practices merely because they don’t adhere to art world fashionability surrounding issues of urbanity, socially engaged art practices, heroic environmentalist statements, and so forth. (Not that there is any inherent flaw in these, just that definitions should not be so exclusive as to favor particular practices when other obviously similar ones are left out.) So I normally propose something like like this: locative media is computational media (often wireless, networked) that processes dynamic location data and presents the user with an interface (information, feedback and control) intended to mediate the user’s spatial behavior or experience. This definition, which is similar to the current wikipedia definition of “location aware media”, adds to the former the focus on spacial behavior. The definition has the advantage of being precise enough to give a relevant description, but abstract enough to be inclusive of more diverse practices. For example, among my interests are the cognitive consequences of locative media, its impact on human spatial reasoning, and a range of ideas from the cognitive science discipline (and computer science) regarding cognitive maps, landmarks, topological networks and path integration. A particular interest of mine related to artificial intelligence is artificial walking. More on that soon, after I present a necessarily short (and unfairly incomplete) list of artists and works that I think are useful for us to think about.

Outside of the computing in the arts sub-genre of art world that I work in, artists who matter a lot to me are Richard Long and Dominique Mazeaud. Long is one of the innovators of a certain kind of conceptual walking practice in which he walks the landscape and creates a subtle work out of found materials which are then photographed, and after which the site is returned to its natural state. (http://www.richardlong.org/) Mazeaud is best known for a related kind of environmental art work in which she performed ritual walks wherein she cleaned up the Rio Grande river in New Mexico, USA. (The Great Cleansing of the Rio Grande River, 1988.) Another related work that I really like is Ruth Wallen’s “Children’s Forest Nature Walk”, which involved working with children to produce interpretative etched trail panels for a nature trail in the San Bernardino national forest in California. (http://greenmuseum.org/content/work_index/work_id-12artist_id-5.html) In every sense, what we are going to work on is the same general kind of thing as my colleague Wallen’s work, except the topic, the ages of the creative young people participating, the way navigation is performed, and the manner of distributing the information in the landscape are quite different. But at some level, all stories in space are spatialized narrative, and the history of this kind of work precedes locative media.

A well known computer artist who I perceive as as very important but perhaps under-appreciated in terms of his contributions to locative media is Masaki Fujihata; particularly his seminal work Impressing Velocity (1994). Created quite early for a GPS based art project, research for the project included assembling a GPS receiver, a notebook computer, and transmission network into a large backpack. The system allowed the computer to keep track of and record/report the user’s location, and also for the tracklog of the user’s travels to be superimposed on maps and satellite images. Is anyone thinking Google Earth 1994? The performance art part of the project was the artist climbing mount Fuji with the system, from which impressions of his velocity at various times in his long ascent were convolved onto digital elevation model data of Fuji, creating a data representation of the two realities.

Steve Wilson created another project very much ahead of its time in 1997. The Telepresent was a suitcase that contained a digital camera, computer, GPS receiver and a wireless internet connection using an early regional wireless data network in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Telepresent came with instructions for those who possessed it: they were to spend a day with the suitcase pointing it at whatever they wanted, documenting aspects of their day. The pictures and coordinates were sent back to a server to be displayed/mapped on the web, and each user was responsible to pass the Telepresent on as a gift to someone else. This early geo-referenced image project is very much the predecessor to a common activity of today: taking geo-tagged photos with mobile phones and uploading them to websites such as Flickr. (http://userwww.sfsu.edu/~swilson/art/telepresent/telepresent.html)

Teri Rueb has produced a large body of work using GPS and mobile media for narrative, poetic, interpretive and installation art purposes. 1999’s Trace project situated sound art pieces dealing with memory and loss along trails in a Canadian national park. Now in a daypack smaller than Fujihata’s, the user would walk the trails, and the sound pieces would be triggered at various locations. (http://www.terirueb.net/trace/index.html)

Jeremy Hight, Jeff Knowlton and Naomi Spellman carried the locative narrative theme established by Rueb (and differently mediated projects by very many artists, such as Wallen’s narrative trail-sign project) a few steps further down the road of the creative, expressive possibilities of mobile media. Using a tablet computer, they created a navigational visual interface and sonic narrative triggered by location, that was by 2001 capable of resting comfortably in the user’s hands as they walked. 34 North 118 West explored the layers of history in downtown Los Angeles in what Hight calls a “Narrative Archeology.” (http://www.xcp.bfn.org/hight.html)

Worthy of note here are some stories of technology that we are all of course familiar with. On the one hand we have the continual miniaturization of components, and on the other the consequence of miniaturization: convergence. Fujihata’s custom backpack becomes Reub’s daypack running more ubiquitous components. Wilson adds camera and wireless network, down to suitcase size. Knowlton’s 34 North platform is for yet smaller tablet computer and small external GPS dongle. The situation today is that many of the least expensive mobiles contain real GPS devices, media playing capabilities, cameras and network connections; from backpack to handset, from expensive to $25-50 dollars. As you can see, artists have for a long time dreamed of, and actually built out this convergence in order to realize their artistic visions.The kinds of story telling or other locative hot-spot triggered media practices pioneered by many of the above – requiring tremendous amounts of work, self teaching, planning and often large grants or other deep pockets – should by now be cheap and easy things to do with our mobiles. Why isn’t it? Secondary and even primary age students should be able to create at least simple narrative based locative media. Organizations should be able to create guided tours that the public can run on their own mobile handsets just by pointing their mobile browsers at a URL. It should cost next to nothing, at least from the perspective of anyone who has access to an old PC and a few other resources like web hosting. In other words, it should work with relatively modest technological resources, of the type that many organizations around the world take for granted, or could possibly muster up. (And should it someday allow the OLPC xo platform to be used as a production studio for similar mobile phone content? Most certainly.)

In any case this is a thought that I had while working with my old friend and colleague Ricardo Dominguez on a project intended to facilitate the navigational applications of cheap mobile phones. (The Transborder Immigrant tool project, still under development.) Working on mobile phone user interface elements for land navigation and basic GPS data types for this project, it occurred to me that some of the software I was developing may be of more general use, and this is essentially where the idea of a platform consisting of both APIs and production tools for this and other kinds of work more or less emerged.

The “Pukekura Park Demonstration/Environment and Sustainability Tours” project will present state of the nascent walking tools JavaMe APIs and production tools. Walking Tools currently includes 35 JavaMe classes and interfaces, fewer server-side classes, and proof of concept applications for deploying particular features of the Walking Tools JavaMe code by adding user provided content. Suppoted by the Scanz Residency program and 60 Spring project, I am leading a demonstration or proof-of-concept that will include working with the three 60 Springs students, who will work to produce experimental content on the theme of environment and sustainability in Pukekura Park and botanical gardens in New Plymouth, New Zealand. It is an exciting thing to be involved with and I look forward to learning a lot about the prospects of such a platform and its applications in teaching and the authorship of locative interpretative environments in the process. I’m grateful for the opportunity!

There is more going on with Walking Tools than stated above. For example I am working with Cicero Silva of Sao Paulo and Geri Wittig and Steve Durie of San Jose on some related things.. And I have been talking with a lot of artists about the potential of standards that would let the same content packs work on many different kinds of devices. But those will have to be better revealed in due time, as is the case with the Transborder Immigrant Tool project.

I promised Trudy that by way of introduction I would write a little about some of my other work and collaborations in the location aware media area. But now it is late, the 747 is over the pacific with bearings toward Fiji for my connecting flight to Auckland, so I will keep it short. In 1997 I was in graduate school at CADRE and fellow C5er Bruce Gardner was showing me his GPS device and some C software that visualized the tracklog of his bicycle routes. C5 would from time to time theorize about GPS, but with interests in AI, robotics, database and the emerging contours of what today is sometimes called the Big Data problem, we had plenty to occupy us. That is, until around 2001 when it became clear to us that GIS data sets were among the largest and most interesting of data sets, and that GPS could become a way of interacting with large data in a performative, generative manner in natural environments. So C5’s engagement with locative media began in a very different way than many other projects; the big data problem was the attractor. That led to, among other projects in what is called the C5 Landscape Initiative, Geri Wittig walking and recording the GPS tracks of iconic sections of the Great Wall of China, the development of statistical methods for finding the most similar terrain in a large database of California topographical data (myself and Amul Goswamy), and the application Artificial Intelligence techniques(2) to identify paths through those California environments where the Great Wall of China would mostly likely fit best in a topographical sense if it were actually moved to or recreated in California. Needless to say, a lot of backpacking was involved in finding some of those places. Strangely to C5, many took this project (cleverly titled “The Other Path”) as a kind of data-absurdist or even psychogeographic gesture; letting voluminous GIS data and some algorithms we wrote tell us where to go. But it was anything but ironic or absurd to C5! We were and are still quite sincere about what we see as the possibilities of generative, algorithmic relations between big data and human movement across the landscape. In any case, generative walking is still a relatively underexplored territory for new work, even as generative design and architecture have become standard concerns for new media artists.

Finally, after C5s 10+ year main phase burn of productivity began to slow as members were hired into new academic positions, and/or moved around the country, or took on new responsibilities like directing the 01SJ festival in San Jose, I kept developing and utilizing much of the code work I did for C5. With the blessings of my dear comrades, my wife and life partner Paula Poole and I began to ask what else can we do with ideas like data mining the landscape for locations, and following even better artificially intelligent virtual hikers, all the while taking in to consideration their possible intersections with the pictorial arts as well. A good general idea of what some of those things are can be found here: http://www.paintersflat.net. Sometimes we are following game bots through the wilderness. Enough said about that.

So there, I’m done. Sorry about the tome, but New Zealand is far from my home in Eastern San Diego County, California. My little note to a few students turned in to five pages. Occupational hazard I suppose. So let me just say I look forward to meeting you all! (And I’m sorry I did not write or post this sooner, I found no useful internet connection in Fiji or I’d have had it up before you meet me!)

Thanks again Ian and Trudy and all for the invite:-)

Brett Stalbaum

(1) Fremont was also a poet, abolitionist and politician who tragically lost the presidential election of 1856 to James Buchanan, a president who is nominally thought of as one of our worst. Fremont was the first Republican presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln the second. As you may have heard, our list of potentially most disastrous presidents has grown a bit recently, and our new president is left to try to clean up the mess.

(2) The AI approach was inspired, perhaps not surprisingly, by a pair of archeologists: Ralph Hartley and Anne Wolly-Vaswar. They were researching the relationships between likely walking trails and native american petroglyph art in the American West. So the connection with native Great Basin rock art with virtual hiking and artificial walking is actually rather direct, though through archeology.

A link to video of Brett’s project:

Brett Stalbaum

Brett Stalbaum is a full time faculty member in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, where he coordinates the Interdisciplinary Computing in the Arts Major. He is a founding member of Electronic Disturbance Theater, C5 and paintersflat.net. Current research involves generative locative algorithms, the development of mobile software platforms for walking, and their applications in art, activism and education. He lives with his partner Paula Poole in an unincorporated area of Eastern San Diego County, USA.

Read more about Brett Stalbaum.

Web Sites
Brett Stalbaum’s Stories

Taranaki Platform Ecologies – Andrew Gryf Paterson

This research process during the Solar Circuit Aotearoa New Zealand residency (26.01-08.02.2009), conducted by Andrew Paterson, responded to, and set
 out to nourish, the online platforms surrounding Puke Ariki, and in particular Pukekura Park, by exploring,
 documenting and bridging online/offline aspects of the former regional Taranaki wiki, and soon
 to be kete.

Using the proposition that these platforms can be interpreted as ‘ecosystems’ – imagined by initiators to be sustainable, outgoing and ongoing developments – it makes conceptual connections with the natural and social ecologies in New Plymouth’s popular and historic public.



Files related to ‘Education for Sustainability’ panel presentation in SCANZ Symposium 08.02.2009


apaterson_scanz_presenation_080209 .pdf or .odp (open office) or .ppt (powerpoint)

Including images stored here

Pukekura Park-/-Kete platform ecosystem table:

pukekura-park-ecology_full-weave .html or .odt (open office) or .rtf (rich text file)

Further materials will emerge here.

They are shared as copyleft, under a Creative Commons by-sa License.


Research Process

The residency project was made in collaboration with Puke Ariki, as part of their Education for Sustainability programme, inviting several local high-school students to join the research process.

With the case of the growing online kete platform, the aim of Andrew’s project was to identify ways to sustain its existence in Taranaki region, nourish the persons involved, and ultimately keep the local knowledge flowing between persons.

In the first week Andrew conducted conversational-interviews with key Puke Ariki staff to give insights into the social, historical and environmental relations connected with Pukekura Park. Simultaneously, he researched similar aspects of the former and future online platforms of Puke Ariki.  In the second week he had conversations with persons who bridge these ambitions and care for both spaces.

Following, he aims transfer meanings and concepts from the social-natural ecosystem of the park to the social-informational systems of the online platforms.  This means identifying the inputs and outputs to these environments, including how the organisms, actors or components within, affect each other. It also involves mapping out the exchange of forces/energies and material (such as informational) transfers involved.

Future work to be done would involve opening up the data gathered to those involved, and develop an iterative series of diagrams, which acknowledge the complex interactions between all involved in these ecosystems.



Ron Lambert (Puke Ariki, Exhibitions)

Pukekura Park socio-cultural history & guided tour

Alistair Stevens (Puke Ariki, IT Dept.)

Setting-up of Pukekura Park & Taranaki Kete platform

David Apimerika (IT Freelancer, Educator)

Maintanance of Taranaki Wiki platform 11.2006-2008

Amanda Hewlett (Puke Ariki, Education Dept.)

Educational direction of Taranaki Wiki platform 11.2006-2008

Nathan Hill (Puke Ariki, Environmental Educator)

Environmental Science of Pukekura Park and 60 Springs Project

Gary Bastin (Puke Ariki, Taranaki Research Centre)

Development of Kete Platform in Taranaki Region

Elise Smith (Friends of Pukekura Park)

Pukekura Park Portal Project including Pukekura Kete Plaform & G.I.S.

Walter McGuinness (Lead developer of Kete)

Historical development of Kete Platform


References and links

Associated Institutions



Taranaki Wiki


Kete platform development




Taranaki-based Kete platforms




Taranaki Environmental Resource: Research Analysis Information Network



Background and ‘bridging’ stories

(Written by Andrew)


The online ‘Taranaki Wiki’ platform was initiated by Puke Ariki [1] and funded by the Community Partnership Fund.  Freelance IT-consulant David Apimerika was commissioned in November 2006 to set up a experiemental participatory website, “to allow the people of Taranaki, and elsewhere, to share their knowledge of all things Taranaki” [2].  Due to a very short period for installation and development, the free-to-download open-source TikiWiki software was chosen, and the site ‘bootstrapped’ (i.e. filled with starter) topics, categories and institutional content, before being applied in educational projects within the region.

This type of platform allows registered users (and sometimes non-registered users) to quickly edit a webpage, add and remove content, keeping a record of edit changes within the webpages.  Some Using either short-hand syntax or WYSIWYG editor, styling of text, links and media can be placed quickly into the pages without need of direct access to the hosting server.  These features make it easier for persons who are not part of the administrative structures supporting the project, i.e. the general public, to contribute to the development of the content , the knowledge, contained on the site.  Wiki software is one of the tools which has contributed to coining of the term ‘web 2.0’, and the increased mass participation in the development and publishing of knowledge online.

Furthermore, this style of content management system often purports to lowering the threshold of participation, and adjustment for emerging content layout and design, in the collective gathering of text and other media content online.


The online ‘kete’ platform was originally developed by the Horowhenua Library [3] in collaboration with Katipo Communications Ltd. [4], as a digital cultural heritage repository – “a knowledge basket of images, audio, video and documents which are collected and catalogued by the community” – building upon the national interactive education vision of ‘Kete Ipurangi’.

A localised Taranaki kete online platform is currently being prepared and ready for open use. Others are installed by organisations and institutions around Aotearoa-New Zealand.

To be continued/developed/edited..


[1] http://www.pukeariki.com

[2] http://www.taranakiwiki.com

[3] http://horowhenua.kete.net.nz

[4] http://www.katipo.com/

Andrew Gryf Paterson

Andrew Gryf Paterson is a Scottish artist-organiser, cultural producer and doctoral candidate, based in Helsinki, Finland. His work involves variable roles of initiator, participant, author and curator, according to different collaborative and cross-disciplinary processes. Andrew works across the fields of media/ network/ environmental activism, pursuing a participatory arts practice through workshops, performative events, and storytelling.

Web Sites