[NetBehaviour] NIMk presents: Esther Polak NomadicMILk and ElasticMapping

Marieke Istha istha at nimk.nl
Mon Sep 28 13:39:44 CEST 2009

Esther Polak
NIMk Artist in Residence

With the increased possibilities of personalized mapping that come with 
the emerging presence of locative media in society, the traditional 
cartographic objectivity of ‘The Map’ is challenged in a daring way. 
Artists are investigating these new possibilities, and Esther Polak has 
been working on the subject since 2002. As she has done so, the 
visualization of GPS tracks has played an important role in her work. 
For her latest project, NomadicMILK, Esther Polak worked with nomads and 
truck drivers in Nigeria. For this project she specially developed a new 
visualization tool: a GPS drawing robot that is able to present GPS 
tracks in outdoors situations, independent of power supply or in-door 
The robot draws GPS tracks directly on the ground by replotting them to 
a chosen spatio temporal scale. It is equipped with a bottle filled with 
sand; a hole in the lid makes it function like a drawing hourglass. In 
this way the robot functions as a performative tool, making the GPS 
tracks tangible and physically present. This approach brought about new 
needs for representation. Both time and space had to be compressed, 
scaled and deformed in order to have the robot draw a recognizable map 
in sand. The process of manipulating and editing GPS data raises new 
questions: it turns out to be something in between drawn routes from 
memory and hardcore GPS route registration.

http://www.elasticmapping.net ­

A lecture-performance by Esther Polak
October 6, 2009
Start 20.30 hours
Entrance free
Please make reservations: info at nimk.nl
At this evening session Esther Polak will do a public performance with 
the GPS drawing robot, based on the herders’ and truck drivers’ tracks 
collected in Nigeria. The performance will be followed by a talk on 
ElasticMapping: the possibilities of manipulating and editing GPS 
tracks, and how this opens up the cinematographic qualities of location 
data ‘as such’ to meaningful artistic investigation, resulting in more 
and more subjective and personalized mappings that will have a big 
impact on the future use of digital location aware media.

The Artist in Residence (AiR) programme at the Netherlands Media Art 
Institute supports the exploration and development of new work in 
digital/interactive/network media and technology based arts practice. 
The residency provides time and resources to artists in a supportive 
environment to facilitate the creation of new work that is produced from 
an open source perspective. We encourage a cross disciplinary and 
experimental approach.

Netherlands Media Art Institute
Keizersgracht 264
1016 EV Amsterdam


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