{Honorary Mention, Prix Ars Electronica 2008}

Grass-roots pervasive surveillance; tracking digital bodies in physical space. {watch video}

Started on 01/01/2005

Additional Collaborators: Drew Hemment (Futuresonic, AHRB research fellow University of Salford, UK), Mika Raento (Context Research Group, PhD Computer Science student, University of Helsinki, Finland)

Project website http://loca-lab.org/

An artist-led project on grass-roots, pervasive surveillance using mobile phones. The premier full presentation of at ISEA2006 and ZeroOne in August 2006 combined art installation, software engineering, activism, pervasive design, hardware hacking, SMS poetry, sticker art and ambient performance.

A person walking through the city centre hears a beep on their phone and glances at the screen. Instead of an SMS alert they see a message reading: "We are currently experiencing difficulties monitoring your position: please wave your network device in the air."

Loca engages people by responding to urban semantics, the social meanings of particular places:

"You walked past a flower shop and spent 30 minutes in the park, are you in love?"

Loca: Set To Discoverable enables people to question the networks they populate, and to consider how the trail of digital identities people leave behind them can be used for good or ill. It asks what happens when it is easy for everyone to track everyone, when surveillance is possible using consumer level technology within peer-to-peer networks without being routed through a central point?

"In the inverted logic of the post-Orwellian city, Loca agents, software and human, decrypt the hertzian passages of its own inhabitants. For better or for worse?" - Steve Dietz, Artistic Director, ZeroOne