Marina Zurkow
PDPal, 2003-4
Installation for a mobile device
Site-specific custom software
With Scott Paterson and Julian Bleeker

PDPal was an series of public art projects for the Palm™ PDA, mobile phone and the web.

Artist Statement:
In response to the plethora of mapping projects that have utilized GPS and measurable cartography, PDPal has been anti-geographic and anti-cartesian, preferring to experiment with the construction of relative, emotionally based systems that ask: what makes social or personal space. PDPal responds to the century-old idea of the urban explorer: from Baudelaire’s “flaneur” (late 19th c); the Dadaists’ public performances of nothing, sometimes called “deambulations” (1921); Benjamin’s texts on the urban wanderer (1920’s); the Situationists’ algorithmic “derives”; Hakim Bey’s “Temporary Autonomous Zones” that spring up in the cracks of urban regulations, and are opportunities for brief piracy of a place; and contemporary work in psychogeography – all deliberate projects of “getting lost” in the city, thus restoring it to a great dense space of wonder, not just a locus of labors.

Commissioned by Creative Time in New York, PDPal appeared in Times Square in the Fall/Winter of 2003/2004. PDPal had three components:
– Once every hour, a 1-minute movie was broadcast on the Panasonic Astrovision board as part of Creative Time’s “59th Minute” series
– Two kiosks, one stationary and one that moved monthly, were stationed in the Times Square area. Each kiosk contained a graphic of Times Square and a beaming box that contained the PDA application. Participants could beam the app to their PDA in order to map Times Square.
– Two scheduled “walkabouts” were performed by the PDPal team, Creative Time, and participants. People convened at Chashama Theater in Times Square, broke up into teams, and carried out mapping missions in the area for an hour. we all then reconvened to share our map/narratives. Missions were either to be an alien anthropologist, carry out an algorithmic walk, or investigate a documentary aspect of the area. Glowlab participated in the first walkabout; click here for their report.

-> click here to the user guide / brochure
-> click here to installation documentation
-> click here to see the Astrovision movie for the 59th minute

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