In Study 7/0 we explore the positioning errors of a static GPS receiver through a series of generative procedures. The project is motivated by the idea of cognitive mapping as a configuration of individual, non-linear and discontinuous spatiotemporal experiences, and their outcomes. We use technical flaws as a conceptual source material for further creative processing and expression. We also investigate the effective approaches to emergence in generative art, where a simple initial setup of a complex system can produce surprising phenomena. For this initial iteration of the project we created an animation based on the 2D waypoint data (longitude and latitude) and the timestamps recorded in the GPS Track Log path.

We secured a GPS receiver to a desk, powered it up, and let it run a Track Log function for 7 days, 7 hours, 16 minutes and 11 seconds. While the ideal Track Log plot for an immovable GPS receiver is essentially a single point, our setup had recorded 8438 positions on a 34.7km long path covering an area of 2.1km2, with an average speed of 0.2km/h and a maximum speed of 17.9km/h. This is a consequence of the limited precision of a GPS receiver operating inside a building under slightly changing weather, combined with the inaccuracy of GPS infrastructure.

We used the timestamps of the 2D waypoint data (longitude and latitude) to animate a red dot along the horizontal projection of the Track Log path, speeding up the 630,971 seconds of the real-time record to 281 seconds. In the animation on the left, we isolate the current 2.25% (780m) section of the whole path, revealing the intricate dynamics of error-generated virtual motion. In the right animation, we follow the current 2.25% building up the whole path. To contextualize the visuals, we display all numerical values from the Track Log dataset.

We consistently applied the Track Log dataset as a generator for the sound, following the metaphor of movement in real space to exploit the acoustic phenomena that result from it, such as Doppler effect and air absorption effect.

Detailed project description PDF


Study 7/0 (Parallel)


Horizontal projection of the Track Log path


Dejan Grba is a media artist, author and educator. He explores the experimental new media art and digital culture, focusing on the poetic approaches and creative methodologies in generative art. He is a Visiting Associate Professor at the School of Art Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is a Founding Chair of New Media department at the Faculty of Fine Arts, and an Associate Professor with Digital Art PhD Program at the Interdisciplinary Graduate Center, University of the Arts in Belgrade.

Philippe Kocher is a musician, composer and researcher. He studied piano, electroacoustic music, music theory, composition and musicology in Zurich, Basel, London and Bern. His artistic and scientific work encompasses instrumental and electroacoustic music, sound installation, algorithmic composition and computer-generated music. He is a research associate at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology in Zurich, and a lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts.