On Locative Art

The term Locative Art was first introduced by the science-fiction author William Gibson in his book Spook Country (2007) describing a geospatially tagged piece of virtual art visible only through the help of special altered technical devices and located by a GPS unit. Behind this concept lies the idea of an augmented reality (AR) meaning a digitally altered form of reality, made possible through the ever-increasing capabilities of our smartphones.

In contrast to virtual reality (VR), which is always on screen in front of you and with which we are dealing on a daily basis without even noticing anymore, AR is right were you are surrounding you and mostly without people being aware of it. The idea is to create an art piece that is at the same time contextually and locative while being immaterial adding a new layer of experience to our perception.

Imagine an installation right in front of you that you can’t grasp, only being visible to the ones who know about it and searched for it tracking back the given GPS-coordinates, a spatial design, constituting space and capturing a place much like architecture but without physically being there. How would it alter your reality and your perception of space?

The art presented here along with the design of the application’s interface is such a Locative Art as an augmented reality first installed with the piece “The Sea of Ice” at the Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, GER, April 2012.