Urban Drifting

  • Use your iPhone to have a psychogeographical experience in your own city. Inspired by the Situationists, Serendipitor is a free app that utilizes Google Map’s API to “find something by looking for something else.” Begin by entering a destination, from which Serendipitor suggests various routes, which are shorter or longer, depending on how much time you have. As you navigate your chosen route, the app suggests actions and movements to generate interactive encounters. These actions (inspired by artists such as Fluxus, Vito Acconci, and Yoko Ono), are designed to augment your experience of your surroundings and increase the likelihood of random encounters along your journey. Actions vary from “enter the tallest building nearby and head straight to the top floor. Take a photo” to “follow a person for two minutes” or “find the next one-way street and walk down it the wrong way.”

    Serendipitor has been nominated for the 2011 Transmediale Award, and is part of Mark Shepard’s Sentient City Survival Kit, which is a series of designs for experimental devices that interact with urban surveillance systems and new digital technologies to highlight the pervasive nature of digital information and subvert the boredom of everyday urban life. The kit includes RFID embedded underwear that frustrates data sniffers, commuter coffee cups that network with other cups to form covert mesh-networks, and an umbrella that uses LED’s to ‘flirt’ with CCTV surveillance systems.

    A project of Creative Capital, as part of a joint artist residency with Eyebeam Art+Technology Center, Sentient City Survival Kit aims to…

    “…raise awareness of the implications for privacy, autonomy, trust and serendipity in this highly observant, ever-more efficient and over-coded city.”

    Although still in public beta, this app is a must for budding psychogeographers.